Tonight’s friendly between the Victoria Highlanders FC and visiting Edmonton FC of the North American Soccer League is the first of the Highlanders’ two biggest matches in the club’s five year history.
Kickoff tonight is 6 p.m. at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium between the Highlanders (PDL) and Edmonton (NASL), as the latter tours in preparation for the upcoming season.
It marks the return of Colin Miller, current Edmonton coach, who led the Highlanders in their first years, which included a 17-year-old kid named Andrew Ravenhill, one of the four remaining original Highlanders.
“Colin’s a very Scottish coach, likes a fast game, he likes his team to play direct and aggressive, big and strong,” Ravenhill said. “It’s a rough and tumble style, while finishing your plays and goals.”
Ravenhill, who grew up in Saanich, played for Claremont secondary as well as metro from 12 years old, but before that was a member of the Gorge Soccer Association.
Getting to play Edmonton is big, but nothing will ever compare to the Glasgow Rangers at Centennial on July 21, he said.
“I certainly prefer to play Edmonton first. It’s a league that is fluid with our league, there’s players in our league who could make that transition to the NASL. Edmonton will prepare us for a team that’s far and away in a different world.
“Glasgow, they’re a team that is like playing an international game. It will be the single-most difficult and most elite game I’ve ever played in. I’ll have star-struck eyes. They’re a storied club, internationally renowned.”
FC Edmonton arrived in Victoria Monday afternoon after a 5-1 victory over Kamloops Men’s All-Stars on Sunday.