The Lakehill Soccer Association, as it is now known, was founded in 1956 by a few Arsenal F.C. supporters. Len Bridgeman, Saanich councilor Bob Gillespie and businessman John Pierre to name a few, were looking for a place where their sons could play. What started out as an organization for the youth of the area, has now grown to include a mini program and a full senior program. The club now boasts a complete program from 5 year old girls and boys to O'30 & O'40 Women's & Men's teams totaling over 900 players.
Supporting the founder’s favourite club’s colours, Lakehill adopted the red and white stripes worn by Arsenal at the time. Lakehill club quickly became a powerhouse on Vancouver Island and a winning tradition was created. One of the most successful teams the club produced was the Lakehill Islanders/Jadresko’s, winning numerous Provincial Championships and finishing runners-up at the Nationals on two occasions.
One notable player to come out of Lakehill is Ian Bridge, a member of Canada's '86 World Cup Team and now coach of Canada's Woman's World Cup U-20 Team. After lifting many trophies as a Lakehill player, Ian went on to play for the Seattle Sounders (in the now defunct NASL) as well as in various teams in Europe.
In 2006, Lakehill Soccer celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
We hope that as you view these photos, and read through a few of the names of players listed here, that you can consider the history of the ground you're playing on. The efforts, successes (and losses) you enjoy as you take part in the Lakehill family of members will build history for players many years to come.
We hope you enjoy this letter from Michael Dominique, former Lakehill player, sharing his thoughts on what his experience at Lakehill has given him.
February 3, 2007
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Please permit me to express my congratulations to the Lake Hill Soccer Association on celebrating its 50th birthday, one week after I celebrated my own! I really wish I could be there with you, celebrating this event in person, but distance and circumstance didn’t co-operate.
I had the good fortune to grow up in the Lake Hill area of Victoria. Over the years I have told many, many people that there was no better place in the world to grow up than Victoria in the 1960s and 70s. One of the many quality things that Victoria had to offer a boy, and a young man, was the Lake Hill Soccer Association.
I was a Lake Hill soccer player between 1965 and 1974, beginning with the Lake Hill Kiwanis S.S. Beavers. As a Lake Hill soccer player I was able to learn the game, learn teamwork, learn that success comes out of good hard work, learn sportsmanship and make many good friends. Playing juvenile soccer with Lake Hill helped teach me how to accept wins and losses with grace. It taught me to enjoy success, and to accept and learn from setbacks and move on as positively as possible, because life subjects all of us to some of both. These are things that have all served me well as I have gone through life, and they are things that I have tried, as a Lake Hill Old Boy, to pass on to juvenile soccer (and hockey) players whom I have coached over the years. For a lot of these early lessons I am grateful to John Coates.
Lake Hill gave me my start in the sport; a sport I was able to play competitively in three provinces over five different decades. Once time caught up with me and I hung my cleats up for good, I turned to coaching and refereeing men’s, women’s and youth competitive soccer. As a referee I have experienced literally dozens and dozens of flashbacks to my days as a player with Lake Hill. Preparing for a 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning game in the autumn, when the air is crisp and there is a heavy dew on the pitch takes me back to Braefoot Park in the mid-60s when I wore a small red and white Lake Hill jersey, the early Saturday morning air was crisp, and there was a heavy dew on the ground that caused the leather soccer balls of that era to feel like they weighed 30 pounds apiece! And boy, did it hurt to catch one of those on the back of the thigh! I have even caught myself blowing the whistle for a foul and quickly flashing back to Reynolds Park, in my mind hearing Len Bridgman hollering, “Free kick, Red!” in response to a similar situation. I admit that, while grinning to myself, I have hollered those same words and done so in my best Len Bridgman imitation!! I’m sure many of you in this room tonight can hear him hollering, “Free kick, Red!” right now. You know what I mean. Here is a special thanks to Len for driving the Lake Hill Soccer Association in those early years.
One year, I had the opportunity to participate as a referee in the Canadian Independent Schools national high school championship tournament hosted by Upper Canada College in Toronto. The event was well organized, the young men representing teams from all over Canada, including St. Michael’s University School as I recall, played some excellent football and it all made for an excellent tournament, notwithstanding the very cold, often rainy conditions. I sometimes wondered if I’d died and gone to Port Alberni! From time to time throughout that experience I couldn’t help but close my eyes and think back to when I enjoyed a similar experience as a teen-aged player. Our 1973-74 Lake Hill team played in similar conditions for the first division juvenile championship of British Columbia. We won it! And I have never forgotten it!! I’m sure the rest of the guys haven’t either.
The volunteers who were involved in running the Lake Hill Soccer Association in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, a group that included my father, have been succeeded by different groups of volunteers over the years. Collectively they have enabled it to evolve to the point where in 2007 it is celebrating 50 years of providing a good, healthy environment for teaching children and youths the sport of soccer, the game of life and keeping them active. Thank you to all of you, and once again, congratulations Lake Hill!