The 2023 League1 BC Championship Finals took place on August 5th, 2023, at the iconic BC Place, showcasing the development and player pathway in this ‘Beautiful Game’ and Province! With over 1,200 enthusiastic fans in attendance, the atmosphere was electric and set the stage for an intense and thrilling finale.
Juan De Fuca Plate Award:
The 2022 Juan de Fuca Plate winners, Varsity FC (now Nautsa’mawt FC), presented the prestigious Juan De Fuca Plate to Vancouver Whitecaps FC for their outstanding performance throughout the League1 BC regular season as they had the highest cumulative points across all clubs in both the Women's and Men's divisions.
Women's Match Recap:
The first half of the Women's Final was a nail-biter, finishing 1-1. Unity FC struck first with a goal from Tilly James (#11) off a set piece. However, the Whitecaps' Kaylee Hunter quickly equalized with a clean shot through the keeper's legs in the 37th minute of play.
In the second half, a miscommunication from Unity FC in the 52nd minute allowed the Whitecaps to seize the opportunity, with Joy Kimwemwe (#13) helping her club take the lead. The Whitecaps sealed their victory in the 85th minute via a Kaylee Hunter penalty kick, finishing the match with a 3-1 scoreline.
Individual Awards - Women's Division:
Katalin Tolnai from Nautsa’mawt FC and Kierra Blundell from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy shared the Women's Golden Boot Award for each scoring an impressive total of ten (10) goals during the regular season.
Kierra Blundell also received the Women's Most Valuable Player Award for the 2023 League1 BC regular season.
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy claimed both the Women's Regular Season Championship and the ultimate title of 2023 Women's League1 BC Finals Champion.
Men's Match Recap:
The Men's final saw an intense first half, with the Victoria Highlanders taking the lead just before the halftime whistle on a goal scored by Michael Henman (#9). The ball took a slight deflection, finding the top right corner of the net.
In the second half, the Vancouver Whitecaps fought back and in the 59th minute, Sydney Wathuta (#85) netted a clean strike into the bottom right corner, leveling the score at 1-1. With both teams unable to break the deadlock after 90 minutes, the match would be determined by penalty kicks. After the intense back-and-forth battle between the keepers and shooters, the Vancouver Whitecaps were able to secure the win, sending the Highlanders keeper the wrong way to seal the victory!
Individual Awards - Men's Division:
Massud Habibullah from TSS Rovers received the Men's Golden Boot Award for being the top scorer during the regular season, tallying eight (8) goals.
The 2023 League1 BC Men's Most Valuable Player Award went to Michael Henman (#9), of Victoria Highlanders FC.
Congratulations to the Victoria Highlanders for clinching the 2023 League1 BC Men's Regular Season Championship, securing their place as League1 BC’s representative in the 2024 Canadian Championship.
“The championship matches today were the culmination of an amazing season. League1 BC players proudly represented their clubs at the iconic BC Place and once again demonstrated the great amount of talent our Province has to offer. We thank all the players, coaches, match officials, partners, and fans for a fantastic season! Days like these energize us to keep taking League1 BC to new levels!”, said Gabriel Assis, BC Soccer’s Director of Soccer Operations.
Gratitude to Partners and Sponsors:
The success of the 2023 League1 BC Championship Finals wouldn't have been possible without the support of valuable partners and sponsors such as Hall Constructors, Roll Focus Productions, Still Creek Communications, BC Soccer, TELUS, and BC Place.
The event was an exemplary display of talent, dedication, and passion for soccer, and fans eagerly look forward to the next season of League1 BC for more exciting moments and thrilling matches.