Victoria Highlanders withdraw men’s, women’s teams from League1 BC weeks before new season

Victoria Highlanders withdraw men's, women's teams from League1 BC weeks before new season
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The Victoria Highlanders Football Club has decided to withdraw both its men’s and women’s teams from the League1 British Columbia less than three weeks before the start of a new season.

The club made the announcement Monday, saying it was not able to come to terms with the soccer league’s new owners to maintain its “mission of providing a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit community team.”

In a post on its website, it says it was in negotiations with League1 BC for two months and made the decision after “serious deliberation and with much regret.”

The 2024 season kicks off on April 27.

Highlanders FC joined the league, an adult open-age Pro-Am Soccer League operated by BC Soccer, back in 2021.

League1 BC “is intended to bridge the gap between youth and professional soccer, targeting the ‘Training to Compete’ stage within Long-term Player Development (LTPD),” says BC Soccer.

Highlanders FC says it has “been enthusiastic supporters of this level of soccer development” since its inception in 2008, and strives to help “women and men looking to take their next step in soccer.”

Owners Brett and PJ Large added that they’re proud of the club’s many on-field successes.

“…but our greatest satisfaction has come from our connections with our community and seeing the many players and coaches who have gone on to successful careers in University or College and in various pro leagues in Canada and beyond,” they wrote in the post.

They thanked the volunteers, sponsors, partners, fans, coaches and players, as well as the owners and operators of rival teams and leagues they’ve played in over the years.

“We reserve special thanks for our two volunteer Head Coaches Steve Simonson and Neil Sedgewick and our Operations Manager Jeremy Dillon; without their significant contributions, our League1BC seasons would not have been possible,” they said.

The club says Thomas Niendorf will continue to manage the Division 1 Highlanders FC men’s team and the Residency program.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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