Nanaimo United player Daragh Fitzgerald goes up for a header during a game last season at Merle Logan Field. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo United player Daragh Fitzgerald goes up for a header during a game last season at Merle Logan Field. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo United will step on home turf for soccer opener

VISL Div. 1 men plays at Merle Logan Field this Saturday, Sept. 22

Nanaimo United’s home opener will be its first as part of one big happy family.

United’s Div. 1 Vancouver Island Soccer League men’s team takes on Vic West this Saturday, Sept. 22, at Merle Logan Field.

It’s the first game in Nanaimo since United merged this off-season with the Harbour City Football Club minor soccer association.

“So it’s a historic one,” said Daragh Fitzgerald, Nanaimo United player and technical lead with the minor soccer club.

If United has instantly gained a few fans, the team expects be able to provide those fans with some good soccer this season.

“We’ve been scoring a lot of goals in pre-season and [our coaches] are huge on playing attacking football and playing on the ground and playing the right way,” Fitzgerald said. “So normally it’s pretty entertaining one way or another.

Nanaimo won its season opener 3-0 last weekend on the road against Comox Valley United and were happy with the result.

“We thought it would take a little bit longer to jell, but we were excellent; we played really, really well,” Fitzgerald said. “Comox has been really tricky for us. I think the last few times we’ve played them up there we’ve struggled to come away with a result.”

Eric Baldwinson, Ben Leggett and Jonathan McKenzie scored for Nanaimo in the win and Geoff Hackett was winning goalkeeper.

He said this year’s team is a good mix of four or five newcomers complementing a group that has a lot of experience playing together.

“The core that’s been there for the past five or six years are all back again, which is a huge help, but the new guys that have come in have been so good,” said Fitzgerald.

GAME ON … Nanaimo United takes on Vic West on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at Merle Logan Field, which will remain as United’s home pitch all season. Before the game there will be two ceremonies, one in memory of Jan Tuckham, who was the club’s secretary, and one to acknowlege retiring club president Al Jorgensen. Admission to Nanaimo United games is always free.



sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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