Usually, the roar of crowds and sporty chants ring through Langford this time of year as fans cheer on the local soccer team, Pacific FC.
But not this season.
“I’ve been to every game except one when my friend was getting married,” said Pacific FC superfan Xan Ouellette.
Much to the disappointment of Pacific FC soccer team fans, COVID-19 gave the Canadian Premiere League soccer season a red card, cancelling all games.
That, however, could soon change if Langford’s newest proposal scores with the league.
“This is a sports-crazy town and we’ve been waiting for soccer to come back whenever it’s safe to do so,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young. “So, we want to make sure we put our best foot forward and roll out the red carpet and get them to come here.”
Langford is bidding to host a condensed 60 game season, played by only Canadian teams, with all players self-quarantining for two weeks on arrival.
The Canadian Premier League (CPL) could be playing in Langford this summer from August to September on the Westhills Stadium turf.
It will look a little different though, as there will be no fans in the stands. Instead, all games will be broadcast live on television across Canada.
It’s a change that fans say would certainly be big.
“Pacific FC games have been known for their atmosphere, smoke, flags, chanting. So it’s gonna be weird without it, having to watch on the tv or computer,” said Ouellette.
“Even then there’s still some pride to be had by us fans if they were to come here and choose the Island.”
Young said that even though there will be no revenue from ticket or food sales, it is a unique idea to bring entertainment and a sense community to Greater Victoria.
“I know people are excited to have it here, anything going on, even if you have to watch it on tv. At least it’s something that’s live and exciting and it’s happening here in Langford,” said Young.
So far, the East Coast pitches in Prince Edward Island and Halifax are Langford’s stiffest competition for the tournament turf. Superfan Ouellette says having the tournament here in the Pacific will allow for earlier games in the sun, which is better for all of Canada.
But it wouldn’t just be games hitting the screens, but a”big brother style” reality show, with players mic’d up, giving a peek into the lives of players, on and off the pitch.
Young believes hoasting the league would not only boost the tourism industry in Langford, as eight teams would have to stay in nearby hotels, but it would also help out the local film industry.
‘There’s a lot of people sitting at home looking for some new content, so I think adding the reality side of it puts a lot of people back in the film industry and those workers will be part of something that’s really exciting,” said Young.
The Langford Mayor says he supports the idea completely, as long as it complies with the federal and provincial safety guidelines.
The CPL will make a decision on the location within the week according to Young, who is confident that his pitch will get soccer back on ours this summer.