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Record-setting crowd sees Nanaimo’s Harbourside FC play first soccer games

Women’s side falls 2-1, men’s side battles to 1-1 draw
Nanaimo’s new semi-pro soccer club Harbourside FC played its first home matches versus Unity FC on Saturday, April 29, at Q’unq’inuqwstuxw Stadium. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

A huge crowd came to the pitch to see Harbourside FC’s historic first matches, and saw just how hard the teams are prepared to play this season.

Nanaimo’s new League 1 B.C. men’s and women’s soccer teams opened their seasons Saturday, April 29, at Q’unq’inuqwstuxw Stadium, with the women losing 2-1 to Unity FC and the men playing to a 1-1 draw.

“We broke all records for League 1 B.C. attendance with 1,200 people, so it was an amazing effort from the community and all the management and game-day staff,” said Kevin Lindo, coach of the men’s side. “It looked amazing and sounded amazing and it was a real solid surprise for everyone stepping out there.”

He said the crowd support meant a lot – for the local players, it was extra motivation, and for out-of-towners, it strengthened their community connection.

Then there was the soccer.

“It was madness,” Lindo said. “We had a man sent off in the first 20 [minutes], and then we gave them a goal, pretty much, we passed it to them. It was a really bad mistake from us, but the way we responded was just incredible. We showed resilience, we showed character and we have some real quality and I thought we played some really good football even with 10 men.”

Hussein Behery scored the game-tying goal in the 36th minute and stood out with a style of soccer that made him an immediate fan favourite. As a whole, the Harbourside FC men, playing 10 versus 11, had to each do that little extra work to make up for being a man down and had to “dig deep,” the coach said. The opposition Unity FC was dangerous in a few different areas, but Harbourside players didn’t stay on their heels.

“Our guys held their ground and then we had some chances towards the end where I though, hey, we might steal this,” Lindo said.

The coach has worked with many of the Harbourside FC players for years and felt they would be able to raise their game to the next level with the right complementary talent.

“We answered a lot of questions,” he said. “Yes we have the quality and yes we have the mentality.”

And if the home opener is a sign of things to come, they have the support of a soccer community that will be looking forward to more match-day madness.

“I’d just really love the community to keep coming back…” Lindo said. “These guys are a part of history and it’s just an amazing family, community atmosphere and we’d love to keep it rolling for the summer.”

In the women’s match, Shea Battie scored for Harbourside FC.

GAME ON … Harbourside FC plays a pair of matches against Nautsa’mawt FC on Saturday and Sunday, May 6-7. Saturday’s matches are in Vancouver, but Sunday’s rematches are back at Nanaimo’s Q’unq’inuqwstuxw Stadium with the women’s match at 1 p.m. and the men’s match at 3:30 p.m. For ticket information, visit

READ ALSO: Nanaimo’s new soccer club Harbourside FC about to debut

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Nanaimo’s new semi-pro soccer club Harbourside FC played its first home matches versus Unity FC on Saturday, April 29, at Q’unq’inuqwstuxw Stadium. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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