In its first game of 2017, Powell River Villa soccer club lost 2-0 on the road to Lakehill United in Victoria on Saturday, January 28.
Villa’s record in the Vancouver Island Soccer League Island Division is one win, eight losses and two ties. The team is tied with Sooke’s Fred Milne Park Rangers for last place; each team has five points. If Villa does not turn things around soon, it risks dropping into the third division for next season.
On Sunday, February 5, Villa will play a must-win game against Nanaimo.
“It is really our biggest game of the year,” said Villa marketing director Chris McDonough. “They’re a point ahead of us. The last place team in the division gets relegated. We’re tied with Sooke for last right now, but we’re ahead on goal differential. If we can beat Nanaimo it will really go a long way in making sure we stay in the same division next year, so it’s a real crucial game for our club.”
Villa will face Nanaimo without its captain Dean Thorsell, who received a red card against Lakehead.
Villa recently signed two new players: James Smart, who played with Villa last year, and Diego Herrero.
McDonough said that in the last few games, the team has made a push to bring in some youth players to build the club.
Villa has two new youth call-up players, including Jarek Long, who was named player of the match for Villa in the game against Lakehill.
“He’s a local kid and a promising player. He’s 17 years old and a defender,” said McDonough.
The other call-up is Chris Marshman.
McDonough said the team remains upbeat, despite its record and what might loom ahead without positive results.
“We’re optimistic,” he said. “We have four games at home. We’ve played a lot better at home than we have on the road. I’m hoping we can have some good results at home and finish the season on a positive note.”
For now, a lot rests on the game against Nanaimo.
UPDATE: Due to weather conditions, Villa's game on Sunday, February 5, has been postponed.