Simonson reflects on Highlanders largest match to date, PDL season
(Photo credit: Times Colonist)
Victoria Highlanders FC concluded their season, July 21 against Scotland’s pro-club Rangers FC at Centennial Stadium. The historic friendly saw Rangers edging the home side 2-1 in front of 5,735 fans after a spirited 90 minutes of play from both sides.
Steve Simonson shared his thoughts following the match and touched on both the event and the 2014 Premier Development League campaign itself.
“The event was fantastic,” commented Simonson. “People wanted to come and see this game, the crowd was fantastic and the atmosphere was fantastic. It was great to be on the same pitch as the Rangers and the boys did well tonight.”
The Highlanders conceded an early goal in the match but quickly answered back with a goal from midfielder Cam Hundal in the 12th minute.
“I think especially as the game went on and especially in the second half we were very good,” added Simonson, who finishes his second full season as head coach with an overall record of 16-5-7. “The first half was a bit nervy at times…the second half was better, we created some more chances. I think we should be proud of what we did.”
Simonson believes Monday’s international friendly is pivotal in showcasing the growing Highlanders club for players interested in joining the squad in future seasons.
“I just think its another thing where every year we want to try and grow this club and have people who want to return and come back to the club and new people that want to come in and play for us,” explained Simonson. “Either the ones that are coming from outside or our young players. Our season and events like this puts us in good stead with people wanting to come here and play.”
After a 2013 campaign that saw the Highlanders finishing fourth in the entire league, expectations throughout the 2014 season were at an all-time high for Simonson and his team. Despite an early exit from the playoffs, Victoria’s gaffer praised his team’s overall performance.
“I’m really proud of the boys this year,” said Simonson. “They’ve been absolutely fantastic.”
Victoria Highlanders concluded their season with a 8-3-3 regular season record. While the PDL squad is finished until next year’s season, the men’s reserves as well as both the women’s PCSL squads continue their seasons as they head to Penticton to compete in the Challenge Cup tournament, July 26-27 at Kings Park. For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.