By: James Nielsen, Highlanders Communication
May 29, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – There were several notable off-season signings for the Victoria Highlanders for their 2013 Premier Development League season.
Perhaps overlooked because of injury is the signing of Scottish professional footballer Blair Sturrock. The six-foot, 31-year-old forward signed in the off-season after playing 12 seasons with various clubs across the UK.
Born in Dundee, Scotland, Sturrock was a trainee for Dundee United before moving to Plymouth Argyle for a three-year stay where he made 64-appearances from 2001-04. Sturrock would make appearances with several clubs before landing with Swindon Town FC—a club managed by his father, former professional footballer Paul Sturrock.
“It was a little bit of added pressure when I was there,” says Sturrock. “That’s carried with me most of the period to be honest, I’ve travelled with him a few times obviously, played at a couple clubs he’s been at, because I was the type of player he could use and abuse [laughs].”
Sturrock dealt with an above-average amount of attention from players and fans alike because of his family ties with the organization.
“It was difficult because you need to win over the players, you have to win over the fans, you always have to be 110-percent,” says Sturrock. “It drains on your mind as well, the fact that you always have to constantly be at the highest standard. Some players want to play and obviously I’m ahead of some players quite often, and the managers not getting them in [the game], the way they get to the manager is through me [because I’m his son], you know it’s a challenge and life is challenges and most of the clubs I’ve been at, I’ve won the fans over, proved my worth most of the time.”
The Scotland native signed a two-year extension following his initial season in Swindon and would remain there until 2009, making a total of 50 appearances for the club. In 2013, Sturrock set his sights overseas, and arrived in Victoria to play for the PDL Highlanders and coach in the Youth Development programs.
“I wanted to come out and help them out playing-wise, hopefully I can do that soon enough. I’ve known Steve a long time, I’ve come here, there’s a lot to learn, and a lot to help out [with coaching-wise] as well.”
Currently on the tail-end of a knee injury that has kept him sidelined for the first four games of the Highlanders season, Sturrock’s experience has nonetheless remained positive.
“It’s been good, [the] team has started well, it’s given me a wee bit more time to get 110-percent. Hopefully [we get to the] playoffs, hopefully then a championship.”
With the Highlanders program growing, Sturrock would like to help foster the soccer community’s growth, and ground himself in Victoria after a career that has seen him constantly on the move.
“The club would like to expand, and I’d like to be around for that. If I could, that would be great.”