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October 19th, 2022

League1 BC welcomes Harbourside Football Club as newest license holder

Club based in Nanaimo aims to engage other coastal communities in the Mid-Island region.

Following a comprehensive application process, League1 BC is excited to welcome its first expansion club, and second on Vancouver Island. With this new addition, eight clubs will now compete in the 2023 season, League1 BC’s second season.

The name Harbourside Football Club is a tribute to Nanaimo’s official nickname, “the Harbour City”, while also recognizing neighboring harbour communities in the region including Chemainus and Ladysmith to the South, Parksville and Qualicum to the North, and Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino to the West.

“We recognize that strategic growth is a key component of League1 BC. We are thrilled to welcome Habourside FC as our first expansion team. I’m confident the club will bring communities together and be well represented in League1 BC” said Gabriel Assis, Director of Soccer Operations for BC Soccer and Chair of the League1 BC Steering Group stated.

Harbourside FC will proudly host games at a renovated facility at Nanaimo District Secondary School, which the City aims to turn into a “Stadium District”, that will host multiple events and teams, to be built over several phases in the coming years.  Initially, the club anticipates a 1,500-seat capacity for year one, eventually expanding to 3,500 seats. 

League1 BC General Manager Sian Bagshawe says the Mid-Island was identified as a key region that deserved strong consideration for a club: “During the application process, we were very pleased to have received interest from the mid-island to join League1 BC. We are grateful to have Harbourside FC join the league as their club is extremely energetic and ambitious, while also committed to pushing the standards that the founding seven clubs have established.”

Harbourside FC’s Executive Officer, Jason Coates says the leadership group is going to work extremely hard to build competitive teams, while also co-creating a totally unique atmosphere for and with supporters. “Given the rich history of the sport in this area and the youthful energy of a growing region, we want to create a festival-like experience during match days," Coates says. "It’s also very important to us that Harbourside FC is not exclusively a Nanaimo team, but that neighbouring “Harbour” communities from both sides of the Island feel a sense of ownership toward this club!

Harbourside’s colours are “Salish Sea Blue”, which is the lighter, turquoise blue, along with the darker “Departure Bay” Blue, recognizing the deep blue waters of the bay.  The club crest is shaped after the ferry, traditionally serving as the way in and out of the island. The logo is further complemented by the curled waves, representing the power and speed of both currents and tides, and the kelp that washes ashore. The letter “H” is formed from the two symbolic harbours, along with the channels and inlets which locals adeptly navigate by boat or as beachcombers.

City of Nanaimo Mayor, Leonard Krog, stated, "We are proud to welcome men's and women's semi-professional soccer teams to Nanaimo and look forward to contributing to the ever-growing success of soccer in Canada. These young athletes and leaders will provide role modelling to our youth, and in turn Nanaimo and Harbourside FC will provide them with a pathway as they transition from community soccer to their professional careers. I am excited and honoured to be a part of this process."

Harbourside will have strong collaborations with National Youth Club License Nanaimo United FC and with Vancouver Island University.

About League1 BC

League1 BC is an adult open age Pro-Am Soccer League operated by BC Soccer. Established in 2021, the league is intended to bridge the gap between youth and professional soccer, targeting the “Training to Compete” stage within Long-term Player Development (LTPD). The League will engage communities across British Columbia providing standard-based competition and training environments for female and male players, coaches, and match officials. League1 BC serves as a key platform of development into further opportunities within the game.