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Langford-based pro soccer team will be called Pacific FC, play starts in spring

Pacific will be the name and purple the dominant hue.

Pacific will be the name and purple the dominant hue.

Pacific Football Club, based at a revamped Westhills Stadium in Langford, will begin play in the spring of 2019 as a founding charter franchise in the new professional soccer Canadian Premier League.

The announcement of the team name, and colours “Starfish Purple, Lagoon Blue and Lighthouse White,” were made during a slick ceremony Friday afternoon at the Roundhouse on Esquimalt Road attended by hundreds of fans.

“We’re already starting working on chants [riffing] on Purple Rain,” said Ted Godwin, a leader of the Lake Side Buoys soccer enthusiasts club.

The team logo consists of a stylized Douglas fir split into two segments. At the base rests a trident, representing the ocean.

The Island-based franchise is the seventh to be announced for the inaugural league season. The previously announced franchises are Forge FC of Hamilton, HFX Wanderers FC of Halifax, York 9 FC from the Toronto area, Valour FC of Winnipeg, Cavalry FC of Calgary and FC Edmonton.

“Now we can truly say we are coast to coast,” said league commissioner David Clanachan, former president and chief operating officer of Tim Hortons, who was on hand at the Roundhouse. “Canada is a soccer-playing nation, but we’ve never called it out. There is an appetite for the game that is outstanding, and this country is ready for this.”

Canada is the only developed nation without a pro national soccer league. The stated goal of the Canadian Premier League is to address that vacuum. (Major League Soccer is the national league of the U.S., with Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal considered guest franchises.)

The league will provide more opportunities for young Canadian players, said MLS Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi, who came over for the announcement.

Videos from notable soccer players around the world were played, welcoming the Island into the league.

The most compelling was one recorded by Canadian national team head coach John Herdman.

“CPL will provide a home pathway for Canadian players who otherwise would not get the opportunity to play pro soccer in Canada,” Herdman said.

“This creates a pathway from local clubs on the Island to a pro club on the Island. This will take us to 2026 and places we’ve never been before.” Canada will co-host the World Cup in 2026.

Westhills Stadium will be expanded to 6,195 seats, from 1,718.

“We’ve got six months and I’m going to push hard,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young. “If we’re not going to be done, we’re going to be darn close. It’s going to be an intimate and improved park experience with a fan zone and plaza and climbing wall … you can bring your whole family.”

Young said cost of the stadium upgrade will be about $10 million, with Langford having $5 million put away for that purpose, and the rest to come through sponsorships and partnerships.

“There is no such thing as no in Langford,” said Young.

Pacific FC president Josh Simpson, who came out of Juan de Fuca youth soccer to make 43 appearances for Canada and play pro in Europe, said he considers the franchise as a team for a market of 800,000 people, encompassing the entire Island.

“The Island market is a sleeping giant,” he said.

cdheensaw@timecolonist.com