‘I think it is a good matchup for us’: Pacific FC captain Jamar Dixon reacts to Concacaf League draw

Concacaf League action is coming to the island late next month, and last night Pacific FC learned their inaugural opponent in continental competition.

At a special watch party in Victoria, the club, its fans, and its players looked on as Pacific drew Jamaican side Waterhouse FC in the preliminary round of the competition. They will travel to Jamaica for the first leg, which will be played between July 26-28, before returning to Victoria for a home leg expected to be played at some point between August 2-4. Tickets go on sale on Monday.

Pacific FC qualified for the competition by winning the Canadian Premier League last season, and will now play a Waterhouse FC side that currently sits at the top of the Jamaican league table.

“It is a good matchup for us,” said Pacific captain Jamar Dixon of the draw. “I think it is just great to have the opportunity to play in this tournament and test the boys.”

Jamar Dixon and Pacific FC are set to take on Waterhouse FC in the Concacaf League preliminary round
Jamar Dixon and Pacific FC are set to take on Waterhouse FC in the Concacaf League preliminary round

Dixon recognizes that it is an opportunity not just to test the group, but also to grow so many aspects of the team’s culture in a way that only playing in a different competition can provide.

“I think it is great for the mentality, it is a change of environment, it is a change of structure,” said Dixon of the tournament.  “Things are done a little differently over there and especially in this tournament obviously going to various countries. But it is just a matter of adapting, now [our players] get to educate themselves on a different level so it is going to be definitely new for a lot of people but it is also an opportunity to grow as a footballer and educate yourself on the variety of different levels there are to play.”

Pacific has watched from afar as Forge FC picked up some big wins and moments in Concacaf League, ultimately qualifying for the Concacaf Champions League after making it all the way to the semi-finals. Now they will get their chance to represent the league and the country.

“Guys are excited about it,” said Dixon. “Obviously you saw Forge do it and everyone was behind them, they were supporting them, and the whole country was behind them. Now it is up to us to do our thing.”

They will have plenty of support of their own, as evidenced by the crowd that came out to the aforementioned special viewing party hosted by the club last night. The unique event gave fans an opportunity to experience this historic draw with players and members of the Pacific FC staff.

Dixon and Rob Friend at last nights Pacific FC draw event (Photo: Pacific FC)
Dixon and Rob Friend at last nights Pacific FC draw event (Photo: Pacific FC)

“I thought it was a great idea, I thought it was a great event,” said Dixon. “And it just brought everyone together. We know that we really have the support of this Island behind us.”

While Pacific are fully focused on going as far as they can in this year’s Concacaf League competition, they know that it could be the first of many opportunities to play regional football going forward. Earlier this month, the federation announced that starting in 2024 two CPL teams — the regular season and playoff champions — will be given automatic spots in the Concacaf Champions League tournament.

“I think that it is massive, it is a big opportunity for everyone,” said Dixon, ” all the teams, going straight into Champions League. It is going to attract a lot more players, it is going to attract more viewers, it is going to be exciting for everybody.”

Dixon says that it is another incentive to keep up their current level, which after winning the CPL title last year has them once again at the top of the table through ten matches.