Like clubs across B.C., the Cowichan Bulldogs missed the 2020 football season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they will be more than ready when the 2021 fall season begins this weekend.
“After the cancellation of the 2020 season, Cowichan athletes have spent the last year training, playing flag football, and doing all they can to prepare for this fall, and prepare they have,” said Cowichan Valley Football Association head coach PJ Shea, noting that once again, the Bulldogs produced more players on provincial team rosters than any other community program in B.C.
The club will field four teams this fall, and Shea believes they are all ready to contend for Island and provincial titles.
The midget Bulldogs, who take the field at McAdam Park for their season opener this coming Sunday at 2 p.m., will be a mix of returning and new players. Competing in the Vancouver Mainland Football League, the midget ‘Dogs will be challenged by teams from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley who carry large rosters.
“The core of the team has been together for many years, and this year will be joined by several new athletes to the program,” Shea said. “With four members of the Cowichan midgets being selected for U18 Team BC, the skill and leadership to compete is definitely present.”
The bantam Bulldogs are also strong, with many returning players and experienced coaches. Several players have been training with the VI South Football Academy since January, and two of them have been named to the Team BC U16 roster.
“The team has size, speed and confidence,” Shea said. “Playing in a league with only three other teams, expectations are extremely high for this group of experienced players.”
The junior bantam team will be led by a coaching staff made up of former Bulldogs players as it looks to extend the club’s lengthy streak of Island championships at that level.
“Their mentorship and pride in the program has already had an impact on the young athletes,” Shea commented.
The peewee Bulldogs will have strong numbers as they return to playing 12-man football.
“Although this is the youngest of the tackle teams in the fall, this group has a strong returning core of athletes who have already played together for multiple seasons,” Shea noted.
It’s not too late to sign up for the fall season, he pointed out.
“Cowichan Football continues to be one of the most respected, and successful, football programs in the province. Cowichan players are being sought by University programs throughout Canada, because of their skill, work ethic, and commitment. The program continues to grow, but there are still opportunities for any youth interested in football to come out and join one of the teams.”