Victoria Highlanders are pleased to announce that midfielders, Owen Pearce and Francesco Bartolillo will be returning for the upcoming 2018 Premier Development League (PDL) season. The midfielders will add to Head Coach, Thomas Niendorf’s growing squad for the 2018 season.
Pearce returns from another strong year at NCAA Division 1 side, Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bartolillo joins the squad having plied his trade with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) this past year, taking them to the Canada West playoffs for the first time in school history.
“Last summer I had an incredible experience living in Victoria and exploring the Island. We had a supportive fan base last year, and I think all the exciting announcements recently will add to that,” stated Pearce.
Pearce, who was a CIS National Champion with York University, a TFC Youth player, and a member of the U-17 and U-20 Canadian National teams, spoke about the impact the recent changes will have to the upcoming 2018 season. “I think that a new head coach with experience like Thomas is massive for the league, not only the club and city of Victoria. Each improvement reaffirms the level of professionalism the Highlanders are trying to achieve, and I really hope that the people of Victoria acknowledge the effort being made.”
Entering into his third season in the PDL and second with the Highlanders, Bartolillo will add creativity in the attacking third in his natural position as an attacking midfielder.
“I think with the arrival of a new coach and new ownership comes the opportunity for growth and improvement for the club,” stated Bartolillo. “Change can always be a bit scary but at the same time very exciting and I think that’s what we’re seeing happen in Victoria. It is a great opportunity for the club and city to establish new and stronger connections with one another. I believe the goal of any club should be to both represent its city well along with having a strong sense of local support from the people living there.”
The Highlanders start their season on the road against the Calgary Foothills May 11, with their home opener against the Portland Timbers at Centennial Stadium on May 20.