United men step onto home turf

Nanaimo United, the city's Div. 1 men’s Vancouver Island Soccer League team, takes on Victoria West on Saturday (Sept. 24) at the new pitch at Merle Logan Field.

Nanaimo United Div. 1 player Paddy Greig juggles the soccer ball Monday night at practice at Merle Logan Field.

Nanaimo United Div. 1 player Paddy Greig juggles the soccer ball Monday night at practice at Merle Logan Field.

Nanaimo United anticipated a bit of a nervous start to the season, and that’s what happened.

But the team expects to be stronger and better with each game, starting Saturday (Sept. 24) with the home opener.

Nanaimo’s Div. 1 men’s Vancouver Island Soccer League team takes on Victoria West in a 7 p.m. start at the new pitch at Merle Logan Field.

United lost its regular-season opener Saturday on the road at Juan de Fuca, a 1-0 setback.

“A little bit of nerves set in there in the beginning,” said Allan Jorgensen, club manager. “Once they got into the rhythm again, things changed.”

United was able to control stretches of play in the second half of that contest and had opportunities to earn a tie or better.

“The desire was definitely there,” said Scott Davison, the team’s coach. “It’s time to hone it and fill the back of the net when we do.”

Vic West will be a good next step. That team won the Div. 2 table last season, edging out Nanaimo’s Div. 2 entry. So many of the players will be familiar with one another.

“It’s one of those games that you just have to play until you can’t play anymore,” said Thomas Anderson, United striker. “You’ve just got to grind it out. It should be a pretty close game.”

United will stick with its game plan, said Davison. He’s filled the middle of the pitch with veteran leaders and put some youth and speed on the wings.

Anderson and George Roumanos will be looked upon for offence up front, with Andrew Adams and Tony Maestrello leading the midfield. The back end is solidified by Jamie Arbanas and Paddy Greig, with Mack Zirkl as the keeper.

Jorgensen said it’s a character group with a positive attitude, and Davison said the team is coming together.

“We’ll be fast passing and technically a notch above [last week].”

Admission to United games is always free.

SOCCER TALK … To read last week’s article on Nanaimo United, please click here.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com