Goals fly as five teams start new VISL Division 1 season with victories but defending champs not one of them

Goals fly as five teams start new VISL Division 1 season with victories but defending champs not one of them

Another year of amateur adult men’s soccer is off and running on Vancouver Island and you could say it has started with a bang. All 10 top tiered Division 1 teams had matches over the weekend, with no shortage of excitement.

Here’s how Week 1 of the 2023/24 Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) Division 1 action played out.

Friday had the season opener in Duncan and Cowichan Axis shutout Victoria Highlanders 1-0 with Brent Brown scoring the lone goal, and the winning goal, for Cowichan. Shutting out the visiting Highlander team, and earning the first clean sheet of the year, was goalkeeper Cordell Jack.

Friday also saw home town Nanaimo United shutout Bays United by a 1-0 scoreline. The Nanaimo marker was scored by Andres Algarin and securing his first clean sheet of the year was veteran keeper Geoff Hackett.

Friday wrapped up with a shootout at the coral as defending Jackson Cup Champions Vic West defeated defending Div 1 Champions Lakehill with a big 7-2 victory, in a match that doubled up as the Cup Winners Cup. Salem Almardy hit a hat-trick for Vic West but not to be outdone, teammate Ian Whibley went one better with 4 goals of his own and MVP honours. Lakehill’s goals came from Craig Gorman and a Vic West own goal.

Saturday got started at Timberlane Park as Comox came into town and defeated home side Powell River Villa 2-0 in the VISL Game Of The Week (and the Villa’s 50th Anniversary match). Comox goals were from Edgar Escobar, and a Villa own goal, while earning a shutout for Comox was keeper Justin Black. Game MVP honors went to Comox’s Edgar Escobar who was a constant threat on the afternoon.

50th Anniversary celebrations were held over the weekend, and featured a Villa Alumni game that had players from the historic teams of the 90’s and 2000’s. A banquet was also put on and on hand was original and current Powell River Villa Presidents as they received a commemorative plaque from the VISL. Also on hand at the event – every trophy the Villa team has won over the past 50 years.

A very special night, and we were happy to be a part of it.

Saturday wrapped up with another goalfest at Hampton Park as Gorge FC defeated Westcastle International Academy 7-1. Gorge goals were from Mike Dunham, Hatim El Azhari, Armaan Nijjar, Anthony Preston, and a Maathew Olaka hat-trick. The single for Westcastle was slotted by Omar Gunn.

So after all of that action, here’s the first VISL Division 1 table for the new 2023/24 season:

An interesting start to the season where both Gorge and Vic West flexed a little muscle, with the more impressive win being the game that saw the defending divisional champions fall to the Greens. The talk has already been of Vic West’s bolstering lineup and if anybody can keep up!

After an entertaining opening weekend of local amateur adult men’s soccer up and down the Island is in the books, week 2 has arrived. Here’s what’s on tap in Division 1 this weekend, with one game on Friday night, three on Saturday, and one on Sunday to round everything off.

Should be an interesting weekend of soccer. Get out and support while the weather is decent, and thanks for supporting local grass roots soccer and those players who live, work, play, and school in your community.

Authored by: Vince Greco

VISL Executive Director

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