Nanaimo United Div. 1 coach Kevin Lindo, left, and players Geoff Hackett and Daragh Fitzgerald celebrate the team’s Jackson Cup win this past Saturday in Langford. (Nanaimo United FC photo)

Nanaimo United play in a pandemic, win Jackson Cup championship

Div. 1 men defeat Lakehill 2-1 to cap off soccer season after a six-month shutdown

One of the first sports championships awarded since the pandemic started goes to Nanaimo.

The Nanaimo United Div. 1 men’s soccer team won the Jackson Cup this past weekend, emblematic of Vancouver Island Soccer League supremacy.

United defeated Lakehill 2-1 on Saturday at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

It was the first game action in six months for United, which had fought its way through a tough draw in the early part of the Jackson Cup playdowns this past winter and made it to the semifinals before the pandemic caused a shutdown.

“Full testament to the club. Administratively and [with health and safety] guidelines, Nanaimo United was on the ball, unbelievably,” said Kevin Lindo, coach of the Div. 1 men. “We were one of the first organizations to get going again on the Island.”

Two of the four Jackson Cup semifinalists couldn’t field a team, so the VISL advanced Nanaimo United and Lakehill to the final. Nanaimo had three solid weeks of training, then couldn’t practise the last week leading up to the cup final because of the air quality.

Lindo said players returned from the shutdown rusty but fit.

“I’m really fortunate. I have an excellent group of individuals who lead healthy lifestyles,” he said. “They understand the commitment and what it takes to be part of a Div. 1 squad.”

In the final, Nanaimo got goals from Colin Jacques and Daragh Fitzgerald to take a 2-0 lead at halftime. They made some changes to the game plan that didn’t work and Lakehill halved the lead to 2-1, but “we plugged some gaps and showed a lot of character,” Lindo said.

The final minutes were back and forth, but time expired and Nanaimo United won its second championship in four years but also just its second of the millennium.

Geoff Hackett was the winning goalkeeper and Mike Greenaway was MVP.

Lindo said the league did a good job with health and safety protocols, spending money for masks and temperature checks. The cup finals were played in a stadium where fans were not allowed.

“I think a few sneaked in and around the perimeter, but technically no,” Lindo said.

With the 2019-20 season over, the 2020-21 season will start right away, with teams separated into cohorts and getting ready to get right back out on the pitch in early October. Until then, Nanaimo United can continue to celebrate winning a hard championship to win.

“It means a heck of a lot to us, winning this Jackson Cup,” Lindo said. “It really does mean a lot to the alumni players, to the community, to the current players and all the future young soccer players that are coming through the club right now. It’s going in a very exciting direction.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo United wins Jackson Cup

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Global Village Nanaimo recently opened for the fall at 6581 Aulds Rd. near Home Depot. (Photo submitted)
Non-profit fair-trade store in Nanaimo offering new ways to shop

Global Village Nanaimo open until Dec. 24 on Aulds Road

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Photo: Facebook)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for mischief and assault. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo man wanted for throwing merchandise at convenience store clerk

Police in Nanaimo hope public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for assault and mischief

Mariah Charleson, Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council vice-president, left, was among those voicing support for Mi’kmaq lobster harvesters in Nova Scotia that are seeing their catch dumped and taken and property damaged. A solidarity rally was held at Maffeo Sutton Park on Oct. 22. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)
Solidarity rally in Nanaimo sees support for Mi’kmaq lobster fishers

Indigenous people and supporters gather at Maffeo Sutton Park Thursday

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)
Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read