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Powell River Villa ready for new soccer season

Spectators welcome to attend exhibition game Saturday, August 28
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During a Vancouver Island Soccer League game at Timberlane Park last season, Powell River Villa forward Cullen Buholzer attempted to break away from Victoria Highlanders’ defenders. The local soccer club returns to the pitch this month with exhibition games in Comox on August 21 and 22, and another friendly matchup at home against Vancouver Island University on August 28.

Powell River Villa is looking forward to returning to the pitch for a season complete with growth opportunities, great soccer, and most importantly, spectators for their games.

“We’re grateful to our fans and our sponsors for sticking with us through last year,” said Chris McDonough, Villa’s manager. “We are looking forward to providing Powell River with great live soccer, even if we have to stay flexible as the situation demands.”

Villa only played four games last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, and the prospect of a full season is something everyone is looking forward to, according to head coach Tony Leach.

“In some ways, having a year off was good for our younger players, as it gave them a chance to focus on their fitness and skills,” said Leach. “With that conditioning, I expect we’ll perform better on the field this year.”

Villa is busy the next two weekends with exhibition games. On August 21 and 22, Villa, Nanaimo United, Vic West, Campbell River Golden Wings and Comox United will compete in Comox for the inaugural Comox Cup. With the exception of Campbell River, all teams in the tournament are in Division 1 of the Vancouver Island Soccer League this year.

“The Comox Cup will be a great introduction to Division 1 for our team,” said McDonough. “It will be a challenging year, but we’re looking forward to seeing how the players improve and rise to the challenge.”

Villa will then host Vancouver Island University Mariners men’s soccer team for an exhibition game on Saturday, August 28, at Timberlane Park. The game starts at 1:30 pm, and tickets can be purchased at the gate for $5. Season’s passes will also be on sale for $35.

“It should be a beautiful day to get outside and watch some live soccer,” said McDonough. “Having fans at our games is something we haven’t been able to do for a while, and as a team, we’re really looking forward to putting on a great show for everyone.”

The Vancouver Island Soccer League regular season will begin Saturday, September 11, with Villa hosting Victoria’s Westcastle United at Timberlane Park. The game begins at 1:30 pm. Villa and Westcastle United did not play each other last year.

Leach is looking forward to seeing how the young Villa players grow as the season progresses.

“We have a lot of young players that I think will come into their own this year,” he said. “All our players are ready for the challenges ahead, but fans should watch midfielders Marcus Cramb and Useni Gershom and defenseman Jacob Duyvestyn as we get further into the season. Midfielder Nico Cristante is also someone to watch; he comes from a strong soccer family, and his father played for Villa in the past.”

Following the home opener, Villa will play again at home on September 18, facing Bays United, before heading to Victoria on September 25 for their third regular season game against Vic West FC.

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