22 April 2024

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A Bluffer’s Guide to League1 Bc

Impress your family and friends with your Pro-Am knowledge.

BC trophy

The new League1 BC campaign is kicking off later this month, and if you’re new to the Pro-Am soccer scene, there’s plenty to digest before getting stuck into the thrills and spills of another fun and frantic season.

League1 BC

League1 BC consists of a Men’s Division and a Women’s Division with Division III sanctioning by Canada Soccer. The competition is standards-based and allows a mix of amateur and professional adult players to take part.

The inaugural season took place in 2022, and further foundations were laid in 2023 when the League1 Canada Women’s Inter-Provincial Championship took place in Langley.

The winners of the 2024 L1BC Women’s Division regular season will win a berth in this year’s Inter-Provincial Championship in Ontario, while the first-placed men’s team will compete in the 2025 Canadian Championship.

In both divisions, the top four teams at the end of the regular season will battle it out in a playoff tournament for the 2024 League1 BC Finals crown.

The first two seasons were overseen by former General Manager Sian Bagshawe, and the 2024 campaign will be the first under the direction of experienced soccer coach and administrator Stuart Neely.

Now, on to the clubs.

Altitude FC

Altitude represent the Sea-to-Sky Corridor in North and West Vancouver, with a brand inspired by the North Shore mountains.

The club finished fourth in the inaugural L1BC men’s season, winning a third of their matches, and dropped further down the ladder in 2023 as competition standards increased. They did however score in all but two of their games last season; a goalless tie to Harbourside and a loss to high flyers TSS Rovers were the exceptions.

Their women’s team have had similar luck, finishing sixth in both their seasons, yet they recorded the third-best defensive record in the division last year. Can head coach Faly Basse build on these foundations and propel the club forward in 2024?

Burnaby FC

Although Burnaby were founded last year and are new to the L1BC scene – having replaced Nautsa’mawt FC’s license – the club has a strong platform to build success in the Women’s and Men’s Divisions.

Burnaby were formed by the amalgamation of five local soccer clubs with rich histories; the likes of Canadian internationals Christine Sinclair and Julia Grosso played for such clubs in their youth careers. Burnaby also won the boys and girls Toyota U17 National Championships last year, adding silverware to a development pathway that caters for players from U5 through to U18.

Now their adult L1BC team will have ambitions to soar, like the eagle represented on the club crest and the flag of Burnaby.

Harbourside FC

Harbourside were League1 BC’s first expansion club, joining ahead of the 2023 season and bringing Pro-Am soccer to Nanaimo – ‘the Harbour City’ – and the surrounding areas.

The club will be out to turn the tide following their inaugural Men’s Division season; seven points and one win saw them rooted to the bottom of the standings. Their women’s team however finished four points off the playoffs after five victories, four of which came on the bounce, beating the likes of regular-season champions Victoria Highlanders.

Harbourside will play in Q’unq’inuqwstuxw Stadium in 2024 and their first men’s and women’s games see a battle of the expansion sides as they take on Burnaby.

Rivers FC

From the west coast to the rivers through Kamloops, where we will see the orange, white, and blue of Rivers FC embark on their third League1 BC season.

Wins in L1BC have been hard to come by so far for Rivers, who have recorded a total of two victories in the Women’s Division – finishing bottom of the table two years running – and seven in the Men’s Division to finish fifth and sixth in the last two campaigns respectively.

But everyone loves an underdog story (unless you are on the receiving end), and with their women’s team under the new guidance of David Corke, Rivers will be aiming for nothing short of impressing in 2024.

TSS Rovers

Since joining L1BC, TSS Rovers have already become one of the most storied Pro-Am clubs in the country by becoming the first League1 team to progress through to the Canadian Championship quarterfinals, beating the Canadian Premier League’s Valour FC 3-1.

They’ve also impressed in the league, making the playoffs in both the Men’s and Women’s Divisions last year after having won the inaugural Men’s Division in 2022.

Erik Edwardson had a big part to play in that title-winning season, winning the league’s golden boot, and adding another seven goals to his career tally last year. Teams will need to find a way to stop him again this time around if they are to beat the Rovers to silverware.

Unity FC

Unity have a new home for the 2024 season as they partner with Surrey United, bringing League1 soccer to Cloverdale Athletic Park while strengthening both clubs’ player pathways.

Formed from a partnership with Trinity Western University in 2021, Unity finished sixth in the first Men’s Division and third in the first Women’s Division – one point off taking part in the Championship Final. Progress was made in 2023 as the men moved up to finish third and the women’s team made it through to the playoff final.

They also qualified for the Women’s Inter-Provincial Championship last year, finishing third in the national competition against the best of League1 Canada. A trophy is the only thing that’s evaded Unity so far; maybe 2024 is the year.

Whitecaps FC Academy

The girls’ and boys’ academy teams of Vancouver Whitecaps both finished in the top three of the inaugural League1 BC standings; their Girls Elite side went on to win the first Women’s Division title by beating Varsity FC in the Championship Final.

That was only the start of what was to come, as the Caps swept both league titles in 2023, scoring a mega 54 goals in the Women’s Division and also winning the Women’s Inter-Provincial Championship.

They have set a tough act to follow in 2024, and a precedent as the team to beat.

Published On: 22 April 2024

League1 BC staff