Cowichan stays in high gear in the VISL’s top division

Don’t you just hate it when the one-percenters get even richer?

Undefeated Cowichan FC (9-0-2) added to their wealth in the Vancouver Island Soccer League Division 1. Star striker Craig Gorman, who graduated from his CIS soccer career this month from the Canada West runner-up University of Victoria Vikes, has joined defending Jackson Cup-champion Cowichan as his VISL club.

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“Gorman is a huge pick-up for Cowichan,” said VISL executive director Vince Greco.

“They just got deeper.”

That adds to a Cowichan FC strike force that includes veteran snipers Cooper Barry, Steven Scott and Patrick Nelson and also Josh Cuthbert from the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency program. The Cowichan defence remains solid with veteran former NCAA player and pro Tyler Hughes along with Jesse Winters, while rookie Sam Hutchison has had a strong debut in the crease.

“Cowichan has better all-round balance then it has had before,” said VISL executive director Vince Greco.

“And that’s saying something because this is a team that was leading the Province Cup semifinal with two minutes left [until a late goal and penalty kicks allowed eventual-champion Burnaby EDC to advance to the B.C. final].”

Several other teams received UVic Vikes for winter ball, most notably Lakehill FC, with Vic West landing the Vikes’ dangerous scorer Michael Baart.

After 11 games, the league’s top five consists of Cowichan on 29 points, Saanich Fusion and Nanaimo United 22 points each, Comox Valley United 20 and Bays United 19.

“Three of the top-four teams are from mid- or up-Island and I don’t think that’s happened before,” said Greco. “It’s reminiscent of when Nanaimo and Powell River were powers in the 1990.”

Greco pointed to Comox as perhaps the team to watch.

“The Comox Valley is really growing and they are getting very good players graduating from good youth teams. It’s starting to show and this could be the up-and-coming team of the next 10 years.”

The bottom five consists of Gorge FC with 14 points, Vic West with nine, Vancouver Island Wave with eight, Westcastle United at seven and Lakehill FC at six.

This week’s games kick off with Saanich Fusion and Bays United meeting at 8 p.m. on UVic turf field Friday night. The Saturday games have the V.I. Wave playing Cowichan at Ladysmith Turf at 6 p.m., Lakehill and Vic West meeting at Finlayson Park at 6 p.m., Gorge FC travelling to play Nanaimo United at Merle Logan Park at 7 p.m. and Westcastle United hosting Comox Valley United at Westhills Stadium under the lights at 7:15 p.m.

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