Higlanders Announce Mid Isle Affiliation
Posted on: Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Victoria, BC - The Victoria Highlanders FC have begun to move their footprint north with the announcement they have formed an affiliation with a Nanaimo-based group to create the Mid Isle Highlanders FC. The group is led by long time Nanaimo Soccer family, Bill & Cheryl Merriman, along with eldest son James (a former Victoria Highlanders Midfielder), who will take on GM duties for the club. The coaching & academy staff will work together in identifying and developing players on the entire island as Highlander Nation continues its growth.
"The Highlanders family is excited with our affiliation with the mid Isle group. We have known the Merrimans a long time and they have been a driving force in developing athletes in the Nanaimo region. We expect to extend our relationships further up the island so this is a strategic partnership to create more opportunities for island footballers. This relationship will not only add depth to our program but also allow the two academies, clinics and camps up the island to have a definite Highlander brand and quality that we are proud to offer." said Highlanders GM Drew Finerty, whose sentiments were echoed by his Mid Isle counterpart, James Merriman.
“We are pleased to announce our partnership with the Victoria Highlanders. This will give the players here in the middle and north Island great exposure to professional coaches and a development path to higher levels" said Merriman.
The Mid Isle version of the Highlanders will play in the Pacific Coast Premier League (PCSL) as a development squad for the PDL club. The Mid Isle side will be older than the Highlanders U20 Reserves but younger than the PDL roster and will act as a feeder system to bring more high level training opportunities to the large contingent of quality players in the region, through Vancouver Island University and the Merriman Soccer Academy.
"The Mid Isle Highlanders Men's Premier team playing in the PCSL will create another stepping stone for island players, while also providing role models for local youth players"commented Merriman,whobrings a wealth of experience as a player-assistant coach & GM, after he starred as Captain at the University of Denver while earning a Business Administration degree. Mid Isle will form a club at a level that has been missing from the central island. The Merrimans led VIU to a Collegiate National Championship last fall.
"Our programs will work together and with local soccer communities to provide clear pathways that will allow players to excel" added Merriman, “Our ultimate goal for this program is to help players pursue their dreams and aspirations in the game"
The new club will bear their own logo (with a definite Highlander look and feel), and wear the Clan's colors & kit.