Last week, goalWA.net broke the news that the Washington Crossfire PDL team had sold its rights to a group in Vancouver, BC. Besides causing some additional havoc for the US Open Cup, for which the Crossfire had qualified, it also creates some interesting possibilities North of the border. The PDL has had multiple teams in British Columbia before, and it had developed into an interesting rivalry and some special silverware.
The Juan de Fuca Plate first came about in 2012, when BC had 3 PDL teams: the Victoria Highlanders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23, and the Fraser Valley Mariners. The trophy, wooden base, and a banner were all developed in a matter of weeks by the teams’ supporters groups: the Lake Side Buoys, the Southsiders, and Curva Collective. A true supporters trophy developed, paid for, and awarded by supporters. The Fraser Valley Mariners would only compete for the plate in 2012, while the Whitecaps U-23 & Highlanders FC would compete for the plate right through 2014.
Much like the MLS’ Cascadia Cup, the Juan de Fuca Plate was awarded to the team with the most points from league competition against their BC-based PDL rivals. In 2012, this meant each team played 6 matches, with Vancouver & Victoria tied for points, and the 1st plate being awarded to the Whitecaps U-23 based upon goal differential. The 2013 competition, involved only Victoria & Vancouver and amounted to a total of 3 games. Like 2012, goal differential would determine the winner, with Whitecaps U-23 taking the plate with a +1 GD vs Highlanders -1 GD.
2015 marked the final year of the Juan de Fuca Plate, and the Victoria Highlanders had a clean sweep of their Vancouver-based competition. With a difference of only 2-goals, neither match was a blow-out, demonstrating just how competitive the teams were throughout the competition. Sadly, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC folded the PDL team in 2015, and Victoria Highlanders FC were nearly abolished, instead stepping down into the Pacific Coast Soccer League.
With the Victoria Highlanders FC committed through the 2017 season, and a mystery team from Vancouver coming on scene, we just may see a resurrection of the Juan de Fuca Plate. According to their Facebook group, the Lake Side Buoys certainly seem to be on board. If 2015’s PDL season is anything to go by, we can expect the Highlanders to go up against “Team Mystery Vancouver” a total of 3-times. The question then comes down to whether we will see sufficient supporter culture develop alongside the new Vancouver, BC team. Once that’s known, we expect the Juan de Fuca Plate to go back into circulation, if the Vancouver side can provide the Highlanders with competition.