Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Division 1 is likely to be crowded at the top

Defending champs changed name - Saanich Fusion - but little else

The team has a new name - Saanich Fusion - but many of the players who won the Vancouver Island Soccer League Division 1 title are back.

Gordon Head Applebee's captured the crown last season by just one point over Cowichan. This year, the soccer organizations from Cordova Bay and Gordon Head merged to become Saanich Fusion.

"We have basically the same team as last year,'' said Fusion manager Murray Smith. "We have added some young guys but the core group is back.''

Saanich has a one-two scoring punch of Patrick Nelson and Cooper Barry, who were almost unstoppable last year. Nelson collected a league-high 25 goals, while Barry, who is the team captain, contributed 13.

"They [Nelson and Barry] are our main goal scorers but it is always nice when others can chip in.''

Nelson won the Golden Boot as the league's top scorer and he was also named the Division 1 most valuable player.

"Gian Luther started last year with our under-21 team but we called him up and he was great for us at centre back. We are looking for much of the same from him this year.''

Smith says Cowichan, the Jackson Cup winners last year, will be strong again.

"Cowichan has some good coaching and good players like Tyler Hughes and Ryan Andre in key positions. The Cowichan team has been together for several years and they are very powerful, much like the Gorge teams from a few years ago. With our team, we are hoping to get to Cowichan's level.

"Bays United [Liquor Plus] is always difficult to play against and Vic West will probably do better than it did last year. We also always have trouble playing against the team from Nanaimo.''

Vic West was a new team in Division 1 last year, finishing in fourth place behind Saanich, Cowichan and Bays United.

The other teams in Division 1 are Sooke Celtic, Prospect Lake Lakers, Castaways and Saltspring Island. Castaways and Saltspring are the new teams in the league this year, replacing relegated Lakehill and Juan de Fuca.

"It is always interesting when there are some different teams in the league.''

Saanich opens the season on Friday at Tyndall Park against Gorge. Game time is 8 p.m. In the other opener on Friday, Bays United travels to Duncan to meet Cowichan. Game time is 7: 30 p.m. at Sherman Road.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks