Soccer is certainly much more than a game for Jesse Winter.
The Ladysmith lad, now 28, says the world’s most popular sport is his biggest passion in life and something he’s been playing for what seems like “almost forever.”
Now captain and backbone of the Cowichan LMG Pringle team in the Vancouver Island Soccer League men’s division one, Winter has his sights set on a provincial championship victory.
“I started playing soccer when I was about four or five with one of the local teams here [in Ladysmith]. I grew up here and went to school in Nanaimo for a bit where I played with the school up there as well. My wife and I just bought our first house here,” he said.
Winter’s skill was recently highlighted as he was named in the Island’s all-star team that played an invitational match against a similar team from the Fraser Valley. They lost on penalties in a tight affair.
“The all-star team is made up up of players throughout division one and two from the Island league. This year was different as we played against Fraser Valley but the year prior they just named two Island teams that was a mix of players from both divisions, and then we played against each other.”
The tenacious centre back sees his role as captain as an important one too.
“It’s definitely an important role,” said Winter. “A lot of the guys on the team have been together for a number of years now, so we pretty much know where we’re supposed to be playing on the field and how hard we’re supposed to be trying. It’s all about talking to each other and doing the right stuff on the field.”
Cowichan is currently halfway through the regular league season and sit second in the league, hot on the heels of Saanich Fusion.
Following the completion of the league campaign, Cowichan and Winter will enter Jackson Cup play in mid-February, bidding to advance all the way to the provincial championships to be held in Vancouver this year.
“Provincials draws four birth to the finals, so the top two, possibly three finalists of the Jackson Cup could make it. Last year we made it to the semi-finals of the cup so just missed out [on qualifying for provincials]. We’re looking to make a deep run at it this year.”