Vancouver Victory squads make home debuts on Saturday

Catching up with a couple of Clark County high school graduates who love playing for the Vancouver Victory, the local club teams, in preparation for more college soccer.

Brin Wolvert, a graduate of Union High School, and Levan Zhividze, a graduate of Evergreen, are among the Clark County soccer talent playing for local adult club teams

The Vancouver Victory are making their home debuts on Saturday, and Clark County Today talked to a couple of familiar faces — athletes who shined at local high schools and are now playing adult club ball, keeping in shape for their college teams.

That’s right, debuts. As in two debuts.

Because the women and the men will be home at Harmony Sports Complex.

The women, who won the 2021 Northwest Premier League, play the Oly Town Artesians at 2 p.m. Saturday. The men, who play in the Evergreen Premier League of Washington, take on Oly Town at 5 p.m. 

“It’s an excellent thing,” Victory women’s coach Josh Westermann said. “The women’s team can support the men and vice versa. We hope to get a bigger turnout for both teams. Ultimately, we’re two separate teams, but under the same umbrella, the Victory. We want to support each other and make the Victory that much more special.”

The Victory teams are an extension of the Washington Timbers club. Many of the athletes on the Victory played with the Timbers growing up in Clark County.

For the most part, the leagues are for soccer players in college who want competition throughout the summer.

“It’s a great way to keep your touches and stay fit during the offseason of college,” said Brin Wolvert, Union High School Class of 2019 who now plays for Warner Pacific University in Portland. 

Brin Wolvert, a 2019 graduate of Union High School, is grateful that she got talked into returning to soccer last year. A Warner Pacific University player, she plays in the summer for the Vancouver Victory women’s club team. Photo by Paul Valencia
Brin Wolvert, a 2019 graduate of Union High School, is grateful that she got talked into returning to soccer last year. A Warner Pacific University player, she plays in the summer for the Vancouver Victory women’s club team. Photo by Paul Valencia

Plus, there are some older athletes who just want to keep playing competitive soccer.

Both teams have plenty of Clark County talent, as well as athletes from around the region. Players who grew up in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are on the teams.

Levan Zhividze was the 2018 Class 3A Greater St. Helens League’s player of the year for the Evergreen Plainsmen. He is with the Victory for the second year in a row, this year with an eye on returning to college soccer.

Levan Zhividze, a 2018 graduate of Evergreen High School, is preparing to return to college soccer after a hiatus, and he is competing in the summer with the Vancouver Victory men’s club team. Photo by Paul Valencia
Levan Zhividze, a 2018 graduate of Evergreen High School, is preparing to return to college soccer after a hiatus, and he is competing in the summer with the Vancouver Victory men’s club team. Photo by Paul Valencia

Wolvert, meanwhile, was out of soccer for a bit, but is grateful she gave it another shot.

Zhividze played at Corban University in Salemfor one year, did not play college ball the next year, and then the pandemic hit.

“Just working a whole bunch and (lately) been playing as much as I can,” he said.

With several years of college eligibility remaining, Zhividze said the plan is to restart his college career at Clark College. He enjoys having a club to play for this summer as he prepares for that next step.

“I know a bunch of the guys who are here, and it’s super local, which is easy for me,” Zhividze said. “I live five minutes away from here. Just a good community. I’ve been part of the Washington Timbers growing up. It’s just a fun thing to be part of.”

He said he enjoys coming to Harmony, seeing people he hasn’t seen in a while. He is excited about the home opener, too.

“Soccer is everything. All my friends and all the relationships that I have are pretty much through soccer, apart from my family of course,” Zhividze said. “It’s just a blessing being in a community like that, meeting great people all over the place.”

Wolvert was at Clark College for a year, playing for the Penguins. Then the pandemic hit. Lockdowns and everything else drained her of her inspiration for the game. 

“I was going to stop playing soccer. After COVID, I kind of lost my love for it,” Wolvert acknowledged.

Her good friend Maddie Goss, though, knew Wolvert still had it in her heart somewhere. Goss, also a member of the Victory and a soccer player at Warner Pacific, convinced Wolvert to give the game another go.

Turned out, Wolvert was instrumental in the Victory’s championship last summer.

“I’m just really grateful that she pushed me,” Wolvert said of Goss. “I love soccer, and I love being here. I love being around all my friends. I love being able to play this game. I think that my passion has been found again, I guess you could say.”

Wolvert has two years of college eligibility remaining but she is going into her senior year of college. She is excited for that, but also loves that she has the Victory right now.

“It’s so fun. It’s the best part of my summer,” Wolvert said. “What I like about Victory, you get people from absolutely everywhere. You make so many new friends.”

Oh, by the way, Westermann is also the head coach at Warner Pacific. Now in his second year in charge of the Victory women, he said he is excited for the opportunity to defend the championship. 

The Victory women are 1-0 after a 2-1 victory over the Oly-Pen Force last week.

Jordan Hacker, who used to play in this league, is the new head coach of the Victory men.

Jordan Hacker is the new coach of the Vancouver Victory men’s soccer club. Photo by Paul Valencia
Jordan Hacker is the new coach of the Vancouver Victory men’s soccer club. Photo by Paul Valencia

“The value for players to have this option is tremendous,” Hacker said of the Evergreen Premier League of Washington. 

After being away from coaching, he is thrilled to be back in the game.

“Just to be able to provide my knowledge to the players to get them ready for the college seasons, that’s the draw,” he said.

Hacker played for Yakima United back in his day. He also used to be the head women’s coach at Walla Walla Community College and the assistant coach for the men’s program.

After the pandemic hit, he and his family moved to the region for a career move. He missed coaching, though, and jumped at the opportunity to coach the Victory.

“I’m fully back invested into the soccer community,” he said.

The Victory men have started the season with two draws. 

Notes: Harmony Sports Complex is at 1500 NE 192nd Ave. in Vancouver. Admission to Victory matches is $5. Children 12 and under are free. 

The women’s home schedule is:

Saturday: vs. Oly Town Artesians, 2 p.m.

May 21: vs. Capital FC, 6 p.m.
June 4: vs. Oly-Pen Force, 3 p.m.
The men’s home schedule is:
Saturday: vs. OlyTown, 5 p.m.
May 21: vs. Bellingham, 3 p.m.
June 11: vs. Everett 3 p.m.
June 18: vs. Bellevue, 3 p.m.
July 10: vs. Yakima, 1 p.m.

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