Highlanders Sign Canada West Standouts

by Joshua Rendle

VICTORIA, BC (April 17th, 2018) - Highlanders are pleased to announce the signings of midfielder Mitchell Popadynetz and forward Isaac Koch. The two Canada West standouts join the Highlander’s growing squad in preparation for the upcoming 2018 Premier Development League(PDL) season.


Popadynetz joins Victoria having played for the Highlanders in their return to the PDL in 2016 and then a short stint with mainland rivals, TSS Rovers. The Nelson, BC native comes with an impressive resume, winning the 2013 U Sports National title in his rookie season with the University of British Columbia(UBC) before leading Thompson Rivers University(TRU) to their first ever U Sports Bronze Medal.

The midfielder joins the roster coming off a stellar season with TRU. Named a First Team All-Star for U Sports this year and Canada West player of the year, Popadynetz looks forward to the 2018 season under Head Coach, Thomas Niendorf.

“I am extremely excited to learn from Mr. Niendorf. His resume is impressive and hopefully we can go far in playoffs this summer with Thomas at the helm,” Popadynetz added, “I look forward to winning games this season and playing in front of the Highlanders supporters.”

Koch joins the Highlanders squad from the University of Victoria Vikes, playing a pivotal role in their season this past year. The Kelowna native, comes off a record breaking season with the Vikes receiving Canada West First Team All Star honours and leading the Vikes in goalscoring for the second year in a row. Koch spoke on the upcoming season and the selection of Niendorf as the new Head Coach.

“It’s always exciting to have a new coach at a team. He has done an awesome job with PESI (Pacific Elite Soccer Institute) and the style he plays is fun to watch,” Koch added, “It’s awesome to have the opportunity to play against high level opponents. Seeing the caliber of players and competition in this league is incredible and it’s a great way to improve.”

The Highlanders start their season on the road against the Calgary Foothills May 11, with their home opener against the Portland Timbers at Centennial Stadium on May 20. Fans can join the Highlanders players, coaches, owners and fans at the Kick Off Before Kick Off party on Thursday, April 26 at Distrikt Nightclub. Tickets are only $105 and include a season ticket, Highlanders t-shirt, 2 beverage tickets and appies, as well as entry into a door prize. Or you can purchase a $30 ticket at the door. For more information, visit www.highlandersfc.ca/tickets