Rees Goertzen won’t have to travel far to join his new team when the Canadian Premier League season starts, as the University of Victoria soccer star was drafted by Langford-based Pacific FC.
Goertzen is the first University of Victoria player to be drafted in the CPL’s U Sports draft, where teams select the top prospects from Canadian universities.
Come the start of the season, the third-year UVic defender will be signed to a development contract, which lets Goertzen train with Pacific during pre-season. If all goes well, that’ll be extended into a professional contract, allowing him to play with the team during the summer in between semesters.
“I would love to become one of the core guys here at Pacific in the future,” he said. “Being able to play on the Island is my dream right now and there’s no better place to view than on the Island, in my opinion.”
Nico Craveiro, assistant coach of the UVic men’s soccer team, said Goertzen was one of the higher potential players he’s worked with and the CPL gives him a chance to improve. The recent departures of several top PFC players also present an opportunity, Craveiro added.
“Many of these kids in their university environment are the best in their environment, and to have them now be in an environment where there’s better players around them, that’s how you’re going to grow as a player,” he said.
Making that step up to the next level was often difficult for Canadian university players, because there was no domestic league.
“Before, the step was from university into the MLS, for many, it was too big of a jump,” added Craveiro.
With Pacific FC winning, Islander James Merriman being made the team’s head coach and Goertzen’s being drafted, Craveiro said Vancouver Island will become more of a draw for top-level soccer talent from across Canada and beyond.
“It’s exciting times for Victoria soccer,” said Craveiro.