Madison Thomas manoeuvres the ball in the midfield for Cowichan United during a LIWSA match last fall. (Citizen file)

Madison Thomas manoeuvres the ball in the midfield for Cowichan United during a LIWSA match last fall. (Citizen file)

Vancouver Island soccer leagues make plans to move forward

Schedules and cup draws are set in case adult soccer gets go-ahead

Vancouver Island’s adult soccer leagues aren’t sure when they’ll be able to take to the pitch again, but they’re making plans to resume the 2020-21 season just in case.

The Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association has posted a schedule for cohort play resuming on Jan. 15, while the Vancouver Island Soccer League has gone a step further and held draws for cup play.

LIWSA president Casey Tepper set up the schedule despite not knowing if the necessary authorities will give his league the go-ahead, which he expects to find out later this week.

“What we’re trying to do is have the players playing,” said LIWSA president Casey Tepper. “We need to have some kind of fun in all this.”

Neither league has played a game since mid-November due to stringent protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the women’s league, the VISL also has matches scheduled to resume on Jan. 15, depending on decisions made by Dr. Bonnie Henry, viaSport and BC Soccer.

“We really have to wait on what Bonnie Henry has to say, then we wait for what ViaSport comes out with and how everything gets interpreted,” VISL Vince Greco said. “So, hopefully we are back at it by mid-January, but that really depends on how numbers go and what is said come Jan. 8 when the present order expires.”

The VISL did kick off the New Year by holding draws for its five cup tournaments, including the Sir John Jackson Cup, the Tony Grover Masters Cup, the George Pearkes Challenge Cup, the George Smith U21 Cup, and the Div. 4 playoffs, although no dates have been set forth yet. All participating clubs in the men’s league declared for cup play.

The LIWSA has a virtual meeting scheduled for its clubs on Monday, Jan. 11 where Tepper plans to let them decide if they want to go forward with cup play, if it is permitted at all.

Tepper noted that the majority of frontline workers are women, which has caused about a 40 per cent drop in registration for the LIWSA. The league has addressed that by combining teams from various divisions into cohorts. Cowichan United, for example, is technically a Div. 2 team, but played its fall schedule in a group that included Div. 1 and Premier clubs.

“The idea right now is to have competitive soccer,” Tepper commented. “And not worry about the standings.”

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