Victoria Highlanders FC Join Newly-Formed League 1 BC

Victoria, BC - We are proud to announce that Victoria Highlanders FC have been accepted by BC Soccer into the new League1 BC. This is BC’s semi-pro soccer league whose inaugural season will start May 2022. Representing Victoria, we are excited that the Highlanders is the premier amateur soccer home for adult men’s and women’s soccer.Highlanders FC are the sixth club to be announced in the planned seven-team league, and is joined by the former USL League Two rivals TSS Rovers and Vancouver Whitecaps, alongside new additions Rivers FC of Kamloops, Unity FC of Langley and Altitude FC of the Vancouver’s North Shore.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Highlanders to continue to provide a platform for players to continue to develop and reach their potential,” said Managing Director Thomas Niendorf. “With the growth of soccer in Canada, the time was right for the Highlanders to join the Canadian soccer pyramid and continue to assist in the growth of soccer on Vancouver Island and British Columbia. We have high expectations for both programs to be competitive from the onset and are looking forward to bringing this level of soccer back to the community.“

Alongside the announcement of joining League 1 BC, Highlanders are excited to announce the merging of the Vancouver Island FC and Victoria Highlanders FC under one program and brand moving forward. Formerly of the Women’s Premier Soccer League, Vancouver Island FC have been leading the development of the women’s game on the Island and were nominated as Franchise of the Year in their inaugural season in the WPSL. The merging of the programs will provide equal opportunities for both men and women to compete in League 1 BC. Head Coach Neil Sedgwick will continue in his role for the Victoria Highlanders League 1 BC women’s program.

"This is a perfect fit. Two organizations coming together to offer opportunities for island players. Our vision with VIFC when we entered the WPSL was to provide a playing environment for top female players,” said women’s Head Coach Neil Sedgwick.  “With that, we also wanted young female players to see what the possibilities were when they came to watch the team play. With women and men together, we are able to offer consistent structures and fan experiences as a complete Highlanders team playing in League 1 BC."

Thomas Niendorf, will continue in his role as Managing Director, but with increased focus on the Highlanders residency program and their upcoming visits to Germany with the residency players in 2022, will relinquish his role as Head Coach of the Men’s Program. A familiar face will return to the Highlanders in 2022, with Steve Simonson taking the reigns as the Men’s Head Coach. Victoria sports fans will remember Simonson’s last stint with the Highlanders in favourable terms after he led the club to their first ever USL League Two Final Four in Austin, Texas in 2013, and was in charge during their memorable exhibition friendly versus the Glasgow Rangers FC in July 2014. 

"The launch of League 1 in British Columbia is a fantastic opportunity for so many aspiring players in our region,” said men’s Head Coach Steve Simonson. “The league will be a great platform for some of the top young players to further their development, to extend their high performance soccer careers, and possibly make the step into the professional game.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be back with the Victoria Highlanders as we enter the next chapter in our club's history, and to be part of the inaugural season of BC League 1."

Details will be released shortly on the season ticket packages available to fans, as well as the home field for the newly named L1BC Victoria Highlanders FC.