Vancouver Island’s professional soccer club is right where they hoped to be at the end of their third season.
“We built the foundation from day one with the youngest team on the field. And we set out that we wanted to win in year three with the foundation that we started in year one,” says CEO and co-owner Rob Friend.
The vision for Pacific FC began in 2018.
“When we started from scratch, we didn’t have a desk,” says Friend. “We didn’t have a physio bench. We didn’t have anything.”
One of the early challenges was raising awareness within a community about what a professional sports organization is and does, and then trying to maintain that throughout the pandemic. Despite these obstacles, Pacific FC has become a key part of the Island’s athletic community.
“I don’t think there are many people in greater Victoria that don’t know what Pacific FC is,” says Friend.
In December 2021, Pacific FC won the Canadian Premier League soccer championship in an upset victory against defending champions, Hamilton’s Forge FC. This title brings excitement and new growth as well as new challenges to the Langford football club.
“People love winners,” says Friend. “We’re seeing immediate effects with a significant increase in season ticket sales; huge increase in partnership sales. We’re seeing huge demand already for this kind of season.”
This win means entrance into the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) league. Not only will this bring more home games to the West Shore stadium but, with huge international competitions, will provide a higher level of soccer.
The win presents new opportunities for expansion, such as improving the fan experience and increasing the Langford stadium capacity. However, it also places larger demands on the club and players with increased travel time and higher profile games.
“It’s one thing to win a championship,” says Friend. “I think for any champion to defend their championship is really the biggest challenge.”