John DaSilva is often referred to as the founder or father of youth soccer in Prince George. DaSilva has contributed more than 35 years to both youth and senior soccer in this city.
DaSilva was born in Portugal and played from a very early age. He came to Prince George in the 1950s and was quickly convinced soccer could flourish in Prince George and area. It was in April 1966 after personally promoting soccer at the secondary level that his efforts brought the formation of two youth teams. In 1969 the league started with six teams and dwindled to only two by the end of the season. DaSilva decided as a last resort to take a team of Prince George soccer players to a major tournament for exposure in competitive soccer. Those were frustrating days for DaSilva and other people in the efforts of promoting youth soccer in the city but that trip to Kitimat with Woodwards as a new sponsor and new uniforms imported from Portugal was the start of smoothing out that rocky road to soccer success.
During the 1970s soccer moved forward in Prince George, largely due to the leadership of DaSilva. The year 1974 was an historic one for the Prince George Minor Soccer Association. After numerous meetings and many convincing discussions Prince George was finally invited to join the “big leagues” and became a member of the British Columbia Youth Soccer Association. This was a huge step forward and resulted in the first major youth tournament hosted by Prince George, which really put this city on the soccer map.
The next 20 years saw DaSilva serving on the youth board, coaching a number of teams and he received the B.C. Youth Association Award of Merit. He was instrumental in the formation of the Prince George Senior Soccer League where he coached for eight years as well as played for the Deutch Flyers and Eagle Lake Sawmill teams. To his credit he also formed the Prince George Soccer Referee Association where he served as president for more than 15 years.
Through dedication, enthusiasm and honesty DaSilva has made soccer the number one sport in Prince George. Today Prince George Youth Soccer boasts more than 2,500 youngsters playing the sport and the numbers continue to increase. DaSilva believed in the philosophy “Children are our hope.”
Today as you pass Prince George Rotary Soccer Fields and look across the fenced fields, clubhouse and grandstands, we stand together with John DaSilva and agree that “Dreams can come true.”