Vancouver Island Premiership

In-house soccer league
Entrepreneurship teacher Mariel Solsberg and Head of Soccer Blair Sturrock share how they have worked with students this fall to creatively adapt the soccer season.

With COVID-19 playing a key role in re-imagining our soccer season, we felt we needed to be creative.  At the beginning of the season, we decided to create an in-house league and thus the Vancouver Island Premiership (VIP) was born. Four captains were appointed based on early game-play. We then held a draft one evening after dinner where captains picked their teams. The draft was quite official with the first portion being livestreamed on Zoom.

Ms. Solsberg’s junior Entrepreneurship & Marketing 10 classes were split into four groups to form the franchise ownership groups of each team. They were tasked with connecting with captains to decide on team colours, names, and logos. They created websites, Instagram accounts, and promotional videos, and had to seek sponsors to help finance jerseys and team gear. The league consisted of eight regular season game days followed by playoffs, culminating with Soccer Sunday on Canada Field on November 8. The first game was for 3rd and 4th place between The Barbers and The Saturna Orcas, and the final game between The Gladiators and The Royals was for the VIP Championship (with The Gladiators winning the close contest 3-1).

We asked for special permission to hold it on a Sunday so that others could watch in a safe, supportive environment that fit within COVID protocols. Professional play-by-play soccer analyst (and Shawnigan’s Director of Teaching and Learning) Tom Lupton provided colour commentary, while social studies teacher Paul Klassen interviewed players on the sidelines. A number of other key individuals helped to provide outstanding officiating and coaching (Blair Sturrock, League President and head referee; Ralph Fraser, League Commissioner, Coach, and assistant referee; Justin Wilke, head coach; Jarrett Wilke, head coach; Mariel Solsberg, League Communications, assistant referee and coach). We also had some semi-retired help come out of the woodwork to assist in game-day operations (Hayley Francois, Ed Taylor, Larry Lamont, Mark Yorath, Justin Theriau, Kyle McMullin, and John Bomans). 

League Commissioner and Coach Ralph Fraser shared after the event, "In my many decades as an educator, this was by far the best coaching experience that I've ever had." 

It was excellent to have support from both students and staff as it is rare to be able to enjoy a live sporting event these days. It was also especially rewarding for our franchise ownership groups as they got to see some of their hard work pay off.  We believe it provided a small respite from the challenging times that we are all living through, and we hope to create a similar event with an All-Star team vs. staff in the future, as well as a match in the spring with our girls' soccer group. 

Shawnigan Lake School is adhering to all COVID-19 guidelines released by the BC Ministries of Health and Education, including those regarding learning cohorts, physical distancing and mask-wearing when appropriate.
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent boarding school for Grades 8-12 on Canada's West Coast. Our diverse and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.