Nanaimo United player Ben Leggett, right, tackles a Cowichan opponent during Sunday’s Jackson Cup final at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park. (KEVIN ROTHBAUER/Black Press)

Nanaimo United player Ben Leggett, right, tackles a Cowichan opponent during Sunday’s Jackson Cup final at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park. (KEVIN ROTHBAUER/Black Press)

Nanaimo United wins Jackson Cup

Nanaimo United’s Div. 1 men defeated Cowichan FC by a 2-1 score in extra time Sunday in Victoria.

United pulled off an upset and became Jackson Cup champions.

Nanaimo United’s Div. 1 men defeated Cowichan FC by a 2-1 score in extra time Sunday in Victoria to win the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s premier championship. It was the first time Nanaimo has won the cup since 1999.

“I’m so proud of my guys,” said Lucian Serban, United coach. “They competed with whatever they had and the way I asked them. We played as a team.”

The Jackson Cup match unfolded in unforgettable fashion for United, culminating in Niko Cristante’s game-winning goal in the 110th minute.

Nanaimo’s Daragh Fitzgerald opened the scoring in the 14th minute off a header and the match stayed 1-0 through most of regulation. Cowichan had a player red-carded in the 75th minute, but pressed to tie and had four corner kicks in injury time, finally scoring in the 90th minute.

“We have a belief that’s beyond measure…” said Andrew Adams, United captain. “Our team talk when we went to extra time was, ‘we’re just going to make this more of an epic win,’ So that’s how positive we were still.”

Cristante’s championship-winning goal came on a counter-attack.

“We had a young, quick guy that just capitalized on a bad touch and used his speed to get around [the defender] and one-on-one, just slaughtered it home,” Adams said.

United was tested in many different ways Sunday at Royal Athletic Park. They game was played on a grass field, which United had hardly played on all year, and windy conditions also made things tricky. Cowichan, as expected, played physical soccer and by game’s end, United was exhausted, hurt and cramping.

“Every single player – we couldn’t have done it without one of them,” Adams said.

Geoff Hackett was the winning goalkeeper and Adams was chosen Jackson Cup MVP.

United didn’t get to take home the historical trophy, but did get to drink champagne from the cup. The team was able to share the victory with family, friends, alumni and other familiar faces from the club.

“That really did give us strength, looking out there and seeing all the support…” Adams said. “This is for Nanaimo.”

sports@nanaimobulletin

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

Just Posted

Gabriola Island poet Naomi Beth Wakan’s latest book is ‘Wind on the Heath.’ (Photo courtesy Elias Wakan)
Former Nanaimo poet laureate revisits past poems in latest collection

Gabriola Island’s Naomi Beth Wakan presents career-spanning ‘Wind on the Heath’

Stock photo
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let’s find a cure for potato pox

What happened to the clean-skinned potato of my youth, asks letter writer

An app available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website can help students during COVID times. (Stock photo)
New library app can help families with online learning

Sample tests, virtual flashcards available through Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale as owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent must come first and last for B.C. industrial projects

UN declaration seen as end to a history of horror stories

Most Read