League1 BC Announces Transfer of Ownership of Varsity FC

January 18, 2023 – Vancouver, BC

Ahead of its second season, League1 BC is announcing that “Varsity FC” has undergone a change in ownership as UBC Athletics and Hope and Health have agreed to transfer ownership of the Club. As a founding License Holder of League1 BC, “Varsity FC” made an incredible impact on the field in their first season of operations and has left an indelible mark on the league’s history. Not only were they the first Regular Season Champions in the Men’s and Women’s Divisions, “Varsity FC” also represented League1 BC at League1 Canada’s inaugural Women’s Inter-Provincial Championship.

Hope and Health For Life Society, the new ownership group, acquired the rights from UBC Athletics to operate a League1 BC Club under the existing Licensing Agreement signed with BC Soccer for 2022-23. BC Soccer’s approval of transfer was conditioned to Hope and Health assuming all rights and obligations outlined in the agreement, including achieving Canada Soccer National Level 2 Licensing in 2023, compliance to all League1 BC standards while also promoting the importance of extending the high impact reconciliation work already being done by the organization in other areas.

Under the new organizational structure UBC Athletics will remain an active partner in the success of the League1 BC Club, including providing support for infrastructure and personnel with the Club continuing to play home games at Thunderbird Stadium in 2023.

“We thank UBC Athletics for the support provided to all players, coaches, and fans in 2022 and we look forward to welcoming the new ownership group into the League1 BC family. We are pleased to accept an organization that is committed to the vision of the league and our vision to support all reconciliation efforts for Indigenous Communities in BC” said Gabriel Assis, BC Soccer Director of Soccer Operations and Chair, League1 BC Steering Group.

The new organizational structure will also enable UBC Athletics & Recreation and Hope and Health Life Society to continue to support the club and its players, staff, and supporters with League1 BC’s three key pillars as a focus: Community, Standards, and Opportunity.

“Hope and Health For Life Society is thrilled to join the League1 BC family to continue our good work in partnership with UBC Athletics & BC Soccer in the spirit of Nautsa’mawt (one mind, one heart) maximizing the beautiful game for reconciliation in so many innovative ways,” said Deana Gill, CEO & Co-Founder of Hope and Health For Life Society. “We look forward to sharing the full story in the near future and to identify new and unique opportunities for players, coaches, sponsors and fans.”

The continued collaboration between UBC Athletics and Hope and Health For Life Society, as the new owners of the League1 BC license, enhances the potential and vision for the already established club. Additional details regarding the club will be released in the coming weeks.

ABOUT LEAGUE1 BC: League1 BC is an adult open age Pro-Am Soccer League operated by BC Soccer. Established in 2021, the league is intended to bridge the gap between youth and professional soccer, targeting the “Training to Compete” stage within Long-term Player Development (LTPD). The League will engage communities across British Columbia providing standard-based competition and training environments for female and male players, coaches, and match officials. League1 BC serves as a key platform of development into further opportunities within the game.

ABOUT UBC ATHLETICS: UBC Athletics is responsible for the management and administration of the varsity sports programs at the University of British Columbia. The department strives to provide student-athletes with a positive and enriching experience through athletics and academics.

ABOUT HOPE AND HEALTH FOR LIFE SOCIETY: Hope and Health has been maximizing the power of sport for over a decade to engage, educate and empower Indigenous children and youth and create social impact. Our vision is for Indigenous children and youth to carry themselves with pride and confidence to achieve their highest potential. We do this through our “Champions for Life” play with purpose programming and community camps, and reconciliation informed education and awareness initiatives. Our Hope and Health Virtual Champions Academy engages Indigenous soccer players in a unique elite athlete development program through mentorship, group education and training experiences delivered by our network of professional coaches, athletes, and soccer technical experts. Hope and Health has also spearheaded the “Be the Change” Mini-Pitch initiative which commits to install 13 Musco Mini-Pitches (multi-sport system) across Indigenous communities by the 2026 World Cup. This initiative will employ and develop local community members and launch a 5V5 “Champions League” across communities.

To date, thousands of Indigenous children in youth, representing 180+ nations across British Columbia and Canada have participated in our sport for development initiatives, with over 50% female participation levels.