PCSL History

PCSL-About the PCSL

The British Columbia based Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) is an inter-city, cross-border adult league with a season that runs typically from May to August. Member clubs are drawn from across the Pacific Northwest in cities from the British Columbia interior, the Fraser Valley, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, through Washington State and Oregon at times.  The League offers wonderful playing opportunities for men and women in premier and reserve divisions, for talented players from Canada and the United States of America who are interested in a high level of competition and the opportunity to travel the Pacific Northwest for league games and tournaments during the summer.

The original Pacific Coast Football (Soccer) League was formed on July 25, 1908 with Con Jones as president and Will Ellis as secretary. The earliest record of the league appears in The Vancouver Daily Province of Monday July 27, 1908 in which it was reported, "The Pacific Coast Association Football League was organized at a meeting in Victoria on Saturday. Con Jones of this city is the first president of the new league and Will Ellis, secretary-treasurer. R. Heindmarch of Ladysmith is vice-president." The Pacific Coast Association Football League included teams from Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Seattle. By 1910 there were seventeen senior teams in the league but the League folded sometime in 1910.

A second Pacific Coast Football (Soccer) League was formed on June 15, 1925 with C.G. Callin as president and Tommy Chrisite as secretary. On June 26, 1926 an all-star team from the PCFL played an English F.A. touring team in Vancouver. But the league folded in 1927.

A third Pacific Coast Football (Soccer) League was formed on August 30, 1930 with Archie Sinclair as president and Vic Sortwell as secretary-treasurer. On September 19, 1930 the first annual meeting was held and James Corral was named president and Robert Davidson, secretary-treasurer. The original four teams were Vancouver St. Andrews, Vancouver St. Saviours, New Westminster Royals, and a fourth team from Nanaimo. The third version of the PCFL stumbled through the 1930s, before being re-formed in August 1939 with Tommy Nelson as president and Jock Hendry as secretary. The season opened on Saturday September 27th 1930 with the clubs competing for the Con Jones Memorial Trophy. St. Andrews played St. Saviours at Con Jones Park and one day later Westminster Royals played Nanaimo South End in Nanaimo.

The St. Andrews team in the PCSL was considered by many to be the soccer team of the 1940's. They won every cup competition they entered in 1947: the Mainland Cup, the Province Cup, the Anderson Cup, the Dominion Cup and the PCSL Championship. North Shore United achieved a similar record in 1949.

In 1957, the first year that Canada participated in World Cup qualifying, the Canadian national team for the first two games was selected entirely from the Pacific Coast Soccer League: the then current Canadian champion Halecos, the most successful Canadian club of all-time, the Westminster Royals, Vancouver St. Andrews and North Shore United. Each of these teams at one time or another had by then already won the Canadian championship (the Challenge Cup).

In the early years the Vancouver based Sun and the Province newspapers gave the PCSL much press coverage. The league has counted amongst its players some of the very best local talent including such standouts as Sergio Zannatta, Sam Lennarduzzi, Bob Hazledine, Bobby Smith, Peter Greco, Ken Pears, Errol Crossan, Harold Hanson, Glen Johnson, Gerry Heaney, Ike McKay and classy imports such as Peter Simpson to name but a few. The Vancouver Royal Canadians for a time enjoyed Bobby Robson as head coach, who went on to manage the English clubs Fulham and Newcastle FC and eventually became England manager.

After the 1959-1960 season, Pacific Coast Soccer League president Bill Findler commented that the season aggregate gate attendance had been 39,980. By the 1962-1963 season, aggregate gate attendance had risen to 86,000. This was at Callister Park which sadly was demolished in 1971 and never replaced.

With the demolition of Callister Park the league transferred its games to the astro-turf at Empire Stadium. The honour of scoring the first PCSL goal in the first game of the first season at Empire stadium went to Geoff McCormick, well known local youth soccer coach. Sadly, spectators that had flocked to Callister Park every Saturday and Sunday did not like the cavernous Empire Stadium or the astro-turf and crowds dwindled. The PCSL was also faced with competition from the North American Soccer League established in 1966 and joined by the Vancouver Whitecaps in 1973.

By 1973 the Pacific Coast Soccer League, the Mainland Senior Soccer League and the Intercity Junior League merged to form the BC Senior Soccer League, which in due course became what is today the Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL).

Shortly thereafter however the Pacific Coast Soccer league was reconstituted as a separate entity offering a summer season, and has continued to thrive as an independent league ever since.

The PCSL has always been well regarded for the quality of its players. The league has produced all star teams that have played against many of the great touring teams. From the heady days at Callister Park where the list of touring teams included Tottenham Hotspurs and soccer legends such as Sir Stanley Mathews, until more recently when PCSL players have acquitted themselves admirably against clubs such as Millwall, Sunderland and Heart of Midlothian from Britain.

Committing summer to practices and games is what players do for the "love of the game." It drives many to make it all work. With vibrant and competitive men's and women's premier and reserve divisions the future looks bright for the Pacific Coast Soccer League.


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