The final match day of the season will have a sombre tone as Nanaimo’s soccer community pays tribute to a player and administrator who died in a car crash this week.
Reid Davidson, 24, has been identified as the person who died in hospital after his compact car was struck on the Nanaimo Parkway by a minivan being driven the wrong way by an allegedly drunk driver the night of Wednesday, July 19.
Nanaimo United FC shared news of Davidson’s death via social media on Friday, July 21.
“One of the kindest and most selfless people you could ever wish to meet has left us and we will forever miss him in our lives,” the soccer club noted. “Reid has been a huge part of our club for several years where he brought genuine warmth and care as a valued member of staff as well as being a fierce competitor on the field.”
Davidson was administrative lead for Nanaimo United FC and was also captain of the Div. 2 men’s side. He scored a penalty-kick goal in the 83rd minute of the final game of the Vancouver Island Soccer League season in February that clinched the league title for United.
Hailing from 100 Mile House, B.C., Davidson played college soccer with the Vancouver Island University Mariners team and was part of the 2019 side that earned a silver medal at Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association nationals in Durham, Ont.
He told Black Press Media at the time that going to nationals was “such a really cool experience” that he never thought would happen. After the season was over, he won the team’s unsung hero award.
“I contribute when I can,” he said after nationals. “I do what’s best for the team and I’m just there to be a positive influence on the younger players, as well as continuing to learn and grow the successful team that we’re going to have going forward as well.”
Larry Stefanek, who coached the Mariners men’s soccer team that season, said Davidson understood the importance of being a leader on and off the field.
“He was the ultimate team player. As coaches, it’s very seldom we have young men and women that are like that – they will do anything and everything for the good of the group,” Stefanek said.
He said it was devastating for himself and for everyone who was close to Davidson to learn of the young man’s death.
“A very good soccer player, but to me what stood out was his overall character and his good nature toward everyone, and then he went on and gave back so much to the game,” the coach said.
Nanaimo United’s League 1 B.C. club, Harbourside FC, will dedicate its final regular-season matches to Davidson’s memory.
“Our hearts are broken but the soccer community has a way of coming together at times like these,” the club stated.
The matches versus Altitude FC happen Sunday, July 23, at Q’unq’inuqwstuxw Stadium. The men will play at 1 p.m. following a 12:45 p.m. ceremony and the women’s side, which features some of Davidson’s close friends, plays at 3:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear Toronto Raptors, Vancouver Canucks or Seattle Seahawks gear.