By Vince Greco
Every year, League & Association leaders submit recommendations from across the Province. This year, the VISL is fortunate to have 4 community members acknowledged for their ongoing support, hard work, participation, and volunteering over the course of the year.
After all of the 120,000 members of BC Soccer have been screened and accounted for, it is great to see these 4 people come through in the end
4 award winners:
Administrator of the Year
Keith has been on the Board of the VISL & Treasurer for the past 22 years.
He is a managing partner with a local accounting firm.
He has also served as the Treasurer for Lower Island Soccer Association (Youth) for a period of 4 years. Besides keeping everybody fiscally responsible, he has been a valuable asset and sounding board when dealing with everyday issues in running the League.
Keith was invited onto the Board by his father, George Smith. George is no stranger to the Provincial Soccer Body as he has been a Life Member of BC Soccer since 2001. Both have served within the VISL for just over 20 years……each.
Like many, Keith has been involved in soccer since he was just a little guy in juvenile. He went on to play senior soccer within the VISL just after completing 4 years at UVic. Keith still plays a little today – with the Saanich Fusion Nearly Dead Over 50’s team. (that is their team name)
In the days where it is tough to find somebody you can trust with your finances, he has been an absolute god send to the VISL. His paperwork is meticulous and very quick to answer questions from membership.
Provincially, Keith also received an Award of Merit in 2006. (The year Italy won the World Cup)
The VISL is extremely happy that George Smith asked his son Keith to come help out in 1994.
Adult Official of the Year
Nathan is born and raised in Victoria.
He started refereeing at the Youth level for Gorge Soccer Association in 2004. After 5 years, Nathan stepped up to the Seniors ranks. Nathan quickly earned the VISL Referee award in 2010/11 and then again in 2015/16.
Nathan was the Center Referee in last year’s U21 Provincial Cup Final that went into PK’s.
Nathan is and continues to be a valuable asset to the local referee’s association. Besides being the VISL top referee, he shows the utmost respect for all players and coaches; treating them with respect at all times.
Nathan has 2 young kids and a dedicated family man. We hope he can juggle his busy life schedule to stay on as a referee for years to come.
Award of Merit
Years of service; mostly with the VISL as a player and coach, but he also coaches kids.
Playing wise, this person has done something that is not so common anymore – he played his entire juvenile & senior soccer career with 1 organization.
The 70’s and 80’s as a juvenile, UVic in the early 90’s, then Bays United ever since. He is now also playing with UVic in the Masters category.
Under Bruce Wilson, Brian Mousley, Norm Pite, Scott Longpre, & Scott Taylor – he has learned the art of charismatic coaching, effective man management, and player rapport. He has been coach for Adam Straith and still remains in close contact.
Highlights – going undefeated in top flight Division 1(has only happened 3 times in 30 years) was pretty big a couple years ago. Pretty sure that finally winning a Jackson Cup might be the biggest highlight. Richard continues to strive for Provincial glory.
Tremendous heart, dedicated, determined and a proven leader who has invested so much into the VISL. He was the 2015 VISL President’s Award Recipient. He has qualified for Masters Provincials as a player, and Men’s Open as a Coach.
Adult Player of the Year
Patrick Nelson has played in the VISL since 2008. Since enrollment he has either led the division & League in scoring, or has been in the top 3. He has been the divisional top scorer in 4 of the past 5 years. He has won the Dr JD Hunter Division 1 MVP Trophy 3 times. (Only 2 players have done that in the past; Drew Ferguson & Nick Gilbert)
Patrick has done something that very few people have done in the past – won the top flight Garrison Cup Trophy for top team in League…..for the past 5 years. The first 3 years with Saanich Fusion, and these last 2 seasons with Cowichan.
Provincially, he has led his Saanich Fusion team to the semi’s where he would lose to eventual champion Surrey United. Last year; more of the same as he and Cowichan ended up losing to eventual champion Estrelle de Chile in Sudden Death PK’s.
A dedicated competitor who works very hard.
A standup guy who is nothing but class.
We are honored to have these 4 people as regular VISL members, and I look forward to them receiving their awards this Saturday June 11 in Burnaby.