Today BC Soccer has formally introduced ALTITUDE FC as the North Shore’s license holder for the new League1 BC semi-pro soccer league whose inaugural season will startin May 2022. Representing the North Shore, from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Deep Cove in North Vancouver, and including the communities in Sea-To-Sky country, ALTITUDE FC will bring a new level of soccer to the local community that features high performance adult men’s and women’s teams. ALTITUDE FC is thefourth club that has been announced so far of the planned seven-team league, and is joined by the Vancouver Whitecaps Academy, TSS Rovers, Rivers FC, Unity FC, Victoria Highlanders and Varsity FC.
“We are beyond excited to kick-off this campaign and aim to establish ALTITUDE FC as a club put together by members of the community for the community”, says club representative Mark Marshall. “As soon as BC Soccer issued its RFP in 2020 for expressions of interest to apply for a club in the new league, a core group of us living and working on the North Shore immediately pulled together to make this happen. Our goal from the beginning has been to build a club culture that players and families from across the region could pull together to support, regardless of their youth club affiliation and in addition to their support of the college, university and/or adult teams on which they might play.”
Adds representative Paul Riches, “There are many parents of talented boys and girls who have recognized the difficulties of transitioning from youth soccer into the professional game. The League1 BC program bridges this gap to offer ambitious players an opportunity to be identified for the skills that they have developed which in many instances, may have been overlooked. Altitude FC offers a very competitive and entertaining style of play and we are confident that the community will embrace the new League.”
Technical Lead Faly Basse emphasizes, “We will provide more opportunities for young men and women with higher level aspirations to have the time and club-support to let them mature as footballers, as they transition from amateur to high-performance soccer. League1 BC balances the typical pressure to perform immediately found in most pro soccer leagues with the strong support and development environment of a semi-pro club that has players that straddle both the amateur and pro levels.”
Home pitch for ALTITUDE FC will be Kinsmen Park in North Vancouver. Kinsmen once featured a magnificent grandstand that hosted many significant community events, as well as countless adult and youth matches. Sadly, in a tragic blow to the community, the grandstand was destroyed by fire in the 1970’s. ALTITIDE FC will work in partnership with the City of North Vancouver on making improvements to provide an intimate setting in the heart of the community with a venue that supporters can provide an energy-level that powers the home team.
Photo Credit: heritage.bcsoccer.net
This storied venue has a long history of high-performance soccer. The North Shore United were a local and national powerhouse in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The team went as far as winning both the National and Commonwealth championships in 1938. By 1966 the club had won eleven provincial titles.
Kinsmen Park was also home to the North Shore Colts, a team that played in the Pacific Rim League in the 1980’s. In addition to consistent success in what was B.C.’s highest league at the time, they entrenched themselves in local soccer lore when, at a four-team international tournament hosted at BC Place in 1985, they won games over professional sides from both Ajax (Amsterdam) and Glasgow Celtic.
More recently, the Whitecaps women’s team played several games at Kinsmen in their 2012 season and in 2016, the North Shore Girls Soccer Club had a team in the cross-continent Women’s Premier Soccer League that played their home matches at Kinsmen Park.
Club representative Landon Voth explains, “As residents of Vancouver’s North Shore and Sea-to-Sky country, we live, work and play on this mountainous region and waterfront. We take pride in our “Sea-to-Sky” lifestyle, and as that name suggests, we intimately understand living at all altitudes. The Altitude FC name, colours and crest were inspired by our local mountains and the land we are fortunate enough to call home, and is something that unites us all in this region.”
Altitude FC gratefully acknowledges that we work, live and play on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
North Shore News’ writer, Andy Prest, recently met with Mark Marshall of Altitude FC to dive a little deeper on the newly formed club and league in the article “New semi-pro soccer team coming to North Vancouver this spring“.
The article uncovers additional details about the league and club intentions. Mark Marshall was quoted “It’s very much intended to be a relaxed, fun summer event with very competitive, serious soccer on the field that people can cheer for.”
Andy Prest also touches on the purpose of the league for you players, and Mark mentioned in the article “The whole purpose of the league is to be a transition league for players who have aspirations to play professional soccer, but for whatever reason they’re just not quite ready yet and they need a bit more maturation and mentoring in a semi-pro environment.” Marshall also stated, “We fully expect that we’ll have players from various clubs on the North Shore”.
Other details in the article cover plans and history of the home field, league home and away games, and some thoughts on game day experience.