A local soccer player made his debut for the Vancouver Island University Mariners varsity team on Sept. 8, coming off the bench for the last 25 minutes in a 4-0 loss against the Capilano Blues in the PACWEST.
“It was definitely a new experience, like the level of competitiveness is just a whole new level and everyone has a different work rate than what you’re used to, so you have to step it up,” said Reid Davidson, who plays fullback on either side.
He also appeared in a 4-4 draw against Langara Falcons.
Last year, the student who is studying Sports, Recreation and Management, was a redshirt on the team, meaning he was allowed to practice and dress for play but couldn’t actually compete in games and had a limited role within the team’s structure. Usually, this is used to increase the eligibility of the player within U Sports (Canada’s equivalent of the NCAA) and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (which VIU belongs to).
Luckily for him, the high amount of work he said he put in during the summer and his first season enabled him to get a spot on the varsity team this season.
It almost didn’t happen for the young soccer player.
“I had a scholarship offer to play soccer in Sault Ste. Marie for Algoma University, but I ultimately turned that down because they didn’t have the program I wanted,” said Davidson, who takes his education quite seriously, which is why he choose to go to VIU. “When I decided to come here, I also emailed the coach and he had me come to a few practices and I got invited to pre-season and then I became a redshirt.”
Davidson started his path with his mother, his first coach.
In addition to playing soccer, he also played hockey until he was around 13. After going to a soccer camp in Williams Lake at that age, he made the decision to stick with the ball rather than the puck.
The camp was through the European Football School based in Vancouver and led by Bosnian, Saibo Talic. The young Davidson impressed Talic and gave him a spot in the academy.
“Basically right then I decided that I wanted to stay with soccer,” said Davidson.
He also played on the Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School team and a rep team based in Kamloops.
Davidson said his favourite moments in his soccer career are stepping on the field at the UVI Mariner’s grounds and getting to play, as well as travelling to Europe on a tour with one of his former clubs.
The young fullback’s favourite player growing up was Argentinian superstar Leo Messi, a forward and face for Spanish soccer giants, Barcelona. But due to their differing positions, Davidson said he never tried to emulate Messi due to their differing skill set.
“I’m not a dribbler or scorer,” he admitted. “I just focus on my position and trying to play as well as I can.”
He does check up on how players are playing fullback in the professional ranks, particularly the ones playing for Barcelona.
Davidson said he never thought of anything more than playing soccer after university other than recreationally and just wants to focus on forging a career with his education.
“It’s a very, very, hard world to break into. My goal has always been to go to university and go from there so we’ll see how the next few years go,” he said.