With their first match quickly approaching, Victoria Highlanders FC have a lot of work ahead of them. With eleven men, plus subs expected to take the field in only a few weeks, the team is still short on numbers.
As of writing, there are 8 players confirmed for Highlanders in 2017, two of which are Keepers. This leaves the team in search of a lot more players to round out the team prior to their first match against Lane United FC on May 14th. That won’t leave a lot of time for players to come together, properly gel, and get match fit before the 2:00pm Pacific kick-off, but it should allow them a day or two on top of the two-weeks that preceded the disastrous start we saw against Kitsap in 2016.
Here’s the team so far:
Recent Club: University of Guelph (U-Sports)
Promo Video – 12 Nov 2015, Scouting Promo
Norgrove was once part of the Victoria Highlanders Academy program, and played for the Vancouver Island Wave. As a local product Norgrove promises to be a fan favourite, but will have some stiff competition as starter.
Recent Club(s): Iowa Western Reivers (NJCAA)
Promo Video – 16 Dec 2016, Scouting Promo
Following the 2016 varsity season, Hayami was named to the Region XI All-Tournament and Academic All-Region. Although not local to Victoria, expect Hayami to challenge Norgrove for the starting keeper position.
Recent Club(s): Vic West (VISL), Auda Kekava (Latvia), Yokohama SCC (J3 League)
With experience playing in Japan’s tier 3, Goto will be bringing his developed knowledge and skills to bolster Highlanders defense. At 28, he hopes Highlanders will help restart his career, but fans of the team should look to him to help younger players learn and develop on the pitch. Having played alongside Ryan McCurdy this past year for Vic West, there’s already some familiarity between the two that should allow for great link-up. As a left-back, Goto has previously worn the #4, so it would be fair to see him dressing with that number this season.
Recent Club: Cape Breton University Capers (U-Sports)
Nationality: Northern Ireland
Heath played as both a striker and a central defender for the Capers this past year, helping the team take 3rd-place at Nationals. Highlanders have announced that he will play a defensive role in 2017, but don’t be surprised if he occasionally shifts to a striking position toward the end of a match if the team needs a heavier attack.
Recent Club: UNCC 49ers (NCAA Division 1), Victoria Highlanders FC (PDL)
Promo Video – 6 Sep 2016, C-USA Weekly Honours News Clip
Returning in 2017, Callum Montgomery is looking to continue his success from 2016. In addition to being named the 2016 Highlanders Player of the Year, he has been named to numerous team-of-the-week honours from his college play. This past season for the 49ers, Montgomery played over 80 minutes in 18 matches, and 90+ minutes in 17, making him a regular starter for his college club.
Recent Club: Robert Morris University (NCAA Division 1), York University (U-Sports)
Promo Video – 2 Oct 2014, Ontario Cup Highlights
Originally from Toronto, Pearce has experience training with the Toronto FC Academy, and has played with the U-17 & U20 National Teams. Pearce’s time with York University aided them in winning the U-Sports Championship in 2015. Highlanders are hoping this experience will help move the ball through the midfield and into the net in 2017.
Recent Club: Ashford Town FC
A left-footed midfielder with an attacking mindset & physical presence, Batousal is expected to “play a big role in our midfield this year” according to Highlanders head coach David Dew. Batousal previously captained Sheffield Hallam University’s first-team in the 2015-16 season, so expect him to transfer some of that leadership role into his new position with Highlanders.
Recent Club: Vic West (VISL), Kingston Clippers (L1O), Kingston FC (CSL)
Nationality: Northern Ireland, Canada
Promo Video – 9 Oct 2013, Kingston FC (CSL) Match Highlights, Centre-Back Position
Although more experienced as a Centre-Back during his time in Kingston, McCurdy spent his most recent season with Vic West playing up front. In 2015, McCurdy scored 11 goals for Kingston, but suffered an injury that forced him to the sidelines through 2016. He was nominated for defender of the year in 2013 during his time playing for Kingston FC in the Canadian Soccer League, so it will be interesting to see how his transition to the front will play out.
With Highlanders restarting their reserve team in the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL), the club is looking for enough players for 2 full teams, plus more that will become a part of the new Highlanders Futures program. That’s a lot of players that need to be signed, and the opportunity is coming up quickly. Highlanders are holding open try-outs on April 23rd, from 3:00 – 5:00pm. With any luck, we’ll hear a tonne of signings over the course of the next week, with training starting immediately.