Photos courtesy of Northfield Photography
When one thinks of the VIU Mariners soccer program and “impact” players Victor Blasco on the men’s side and Rachel Jones on the women’s side immediately come to mind.
Blasco will enter his fourth season on the Island and will no doubt have a bit of a chip on his shoulder after missing the PACWEST provincial championship tournament last year due to an injury. He was sorely missed in their semi-final match with Douglas which went to a shootout. The Mariners used eight shooters before the Royals put away the game winner.
The Spaniard is so talented he draws a crowd each time he touches the ball, which opens up lanes for his teammates. When he does get an opportunity Blasco rarely misses, scoring four goals last season in just 10 games.
If he can stay healthy this year it will give the Mariners a huge boost. They will not only fight the PACWEST opposition this upcoming season, but will host the nation as well beginning November 8th.
On the women’s side Rachel Jones returns for her fifth and final season after being named the provincial championship MVP last October. Without her play in the semi-final against Langara the Mariners may never have won the PACWEST title. Jones blasted home the game winner in the 87th minute propelling them into the gold medal game which they won punching their ticket to the nationals.
Jones was the spark plug last season scoring four times during the regular campaign and twice in the provincial championship. She is a leader on the pitch for the Mariners and makes the other athletes around her better. She has a knack to finding the opening and should once again be a dangerous threat in 2017.
The Mariners will open the new season on September 9th when they host the Langara Falcons.