POWELL RIVER, B.C. – The Powell River Villa men’s soccer team is moving on up, to familiar territory.
The Villa will start next season in the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s First Division.
It’s a division that Villa has dominated more than a few times since the club’s inception in 1973.
Club president Jamie Zroback said Villa is back to the VISL’s highest level after a somewhat lengthy stay in the Second and Third Divisions.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve moved up,” Zroback said. “Historically, the club has spent a lot of time in Division 1. We’ve spent the last 12 years battling Division 2 and Division 3 (teams), and so it’s really exciting to make it back into Division 1.”
The Villa earned the promotion on the back of its 12-5-1 record.
The Powell River squad is graduating to the First Division despite a disappointing 2-1 loss in its last game of the season against Saanich.
Perhaps nerves got the better of them but Chris McDonough’s players were not at their best on Saturday in Saanich.
And even though Kye Taylor scored the opening goal, Villa failed to capitalize on the advantage, even missing a penalty and then giving up two second half goals to finish in second place in the VISL’s Second Division behind the Victoria Highlanders.
Only one home game ended in defeat all season but it was a significant one, a 3-2 loss on Jan. 19 to the Highlanders.
But it has been an excellent season overall and local fans have been treated to some exciting games and seen some wonderful goals scored while watching a really good standard of play, a Villa release notes.
“If the club can retain the main core of players from this year, a good mix of youngsters and experience, it can once again start to give the best teams on the island more than just a run for their money,” the release added.
Zroback said the “realistic goal” from the start of the season was to not get relegated, and place in the middle of the division.
“The team gelled together really early and started playing very well, and it the last game of the season, if we would have won it, we would have won the division.”