With apologies to Sergio Leone, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer training camp has seen it all, from the good to the bad to the ugly.
The good was the surprise appearance of 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympic Canadian women’s team bronze-medallist Sophie Schmidt joining Vikes training as she prepares for Canada’s friendly on Sept. 2 against Brazil in Ottawa.
“Our level is probably higher than the [women’s] national team level, but Sophie fit in well and did well,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson.
“The pace was different for her, but I think our speed helped her out.”
Schmidt, a midfielder with 170 caps for Canada and 18 goals, has appeared in three Olympic Games and three World Cups.
She was in Victoria the past week to watch her boyfriend play for Air New Zealand in the VISAS six-a-side international cricket tournament at Beacon Hill and Windsor parks.
Schmidt, 30, from Abbotsford who plays pro in Germany, started out with the women’s Vikes training camp, but was well above U Sports level, and so it was suggested she train with the male Vikes team, which she did for a week up to Friday.
“Sophie was outstanding and trained well with us. The guys loved it and were getting photos taken with her,” said Wilson, in his third decade of guiding the Vikes, after a pro playing career and captaining Canada in the 1986 World Cup.
Meanwhile, the bad and the ugly were all rolled into one with the devastating news that Vikes’ star attacking-midfielder Isaac Koch will be lost for the season after tearing his knee as badly as an athlete can. The injury happened during an exhibition game.
“Isaac is the best player in Canada West,” Wilson said.
“The upcoming Canadian pro league is tailor-made for a young Canadian player like Isaac, and he was already rated as a prospect.”
Injuries are the one thing that can throw any pre-season predictions out the window.
“It’s the cruciate ligament and cartilage, so Isaac is out for one year minimum.
“That is a huge disappointment for us,” Wilson said.
The Vikes continue their training camp with an exhibition game today at 1 p.m. at Centennial Stadium against Peninsula College of Port Angeles.
The Canada West regular season opens Aug. 24-25 for UVic with two road games in Prince George against the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves.
The women’s UVic Vikes, fifth last year nationally in U Sports, open Canada West play Sept. 1 at Centennial Stadium against the UBC Thunderbirds.