NANAIMO — The CCAA Soccer Nationals begin at Merle Logan Field on Wednesday, but the events for the week are already underway.
All eight teams, including the host VIU Mariners, will get practice time on Tuesday ahead of the national awards banquet on Tuesday night.
The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
VIU Director of High Performance Sport Stephanie White says the banquet is really the kickoff to the nationals with the selection of the CCAA All Canadians, Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year.
"Those are really huge honours to receive," said White. "We have TSN host Nabil Karim who will be coming to be our keynote speaker at the banquet, and we're also going to be talking about the Moose Hide Campaign which is something near and dear to VIU as an institution."
The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of aboriginal and non-aboriginal men standing up against violence against women and children.
The competition itself starts on Wednesday with four matches during the day at Merle Logan Field.
The highlighted matchup is the Mariners taking on the Indiens d'Ahuntsic out of Quebec at 5:30 p.m.
In order to host an event of this size trailers have been brought in for extra change rooms, the city of Nanaimo has also reconfigured the stands to get more seating, and White says there will be tents on site to give people some extra cover from the rain in this week's weather forecast.
"We've been working with the city, and they've been great," said White. "We've had great community support as well to make sure we have as many tents as we can get on site."
White and the university want to make sure Nanaimo is represented very well by putting on a great awards night and tournament, if the Mariners can capture a gold medal on home soil this week it will be the perfect ending to the many months of hard work.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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