Brad Norris-Jones grew up dreaming about making it to pro sports. He got there, not on the field but off, as the new executive vice-president of operations for Pacific FC.
“I was never good enough to play pro sports, but now I feel like I’ve been drafted into the pros,” he said, during the media announcement Friday at the Pacific FC merchandise store on Fort Street.
Norris-Jones comes to the Canadian Premier League soccer team after six successful seasons as GM of the Victoria HarbourCats baseball club of the collegiate summer West Coast League and will be responsible for Pacific FC’s day-to-day business operations.
There will be 14 Pacific FC league home games, not counting Canadian Cup fixtures and exhibitions, in the inaugural CPL season at an expanded Westhills Stadium in Langford. Norris-Jones is promising each one of them will be an event on and off the pitch.
“We will play between 15 to 20 home games and each of those games will be special on many levels,” said Norris-Jones.
“I know how to sell sports and entertain people.”
He proved that with the HarbourCats, who have led the WCL in attendance the past five seasons.
“I was told countless times baseball will not work here. But I proved them all wrong. I did it in baseball and will do it here in soccer,” said Norris-Jones.
The CPL will fulfil the long-held dream in Canadian soccer of establishing a domestic pro league. Pacific FC is among seven charter franchises announced for the inaugural 2019 season.
The CPL has announced the first game in league history will be April 27 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton between host Forge FC and York 9 from the Toronto area.
The rest of the CPL schedule will be released next week. Pacific FC president Josh Simpson let it slip Friday that the first game in franchise history will be at Westhills Stadium on April 28, but did not mention the opponent.
Simpson said the seating components for the 6,000-seat Westhills Stadium expansion are being shipped from Germany and that the stadium will be ready for game action before April 28.
“They will piece together like Lego,” said Simpson, who came out of Juan de Fuca to play pro soccer in Europe and earn 43 caps for Canada.
“We will be game-day ready for soccer. But the polish and beautification of the area around the stadium [which is planned to include several fan plazas] will probably not be completed until May or June.”
As for the on-field product, Pacific FC has seven players under contract with the club and says several more signings will be announced this month.