Club History

The origins of Valmiera FC can be traced back to February 29, 1996, when the Valmiera football club was founded. The founders were three individuals – Imants Saulitis (club president), Jevgenijs Katajevs (club’s first coach), and Guntars Melecis (team administrator).

In its first season, Valmiera FK participated in the Latvian 1st league championship, immediately winning 2nd place in the competition of 13 teams. The prize won meant that the team had to go to the playoffs for a place in the highest-ranked tournament in the country. Riga Skonto/Metals team was the opponent in two games, which we managed to beat, not without difficulties. First, a tiny bit of a loss at the Daugava Stadium (0:1), followed by a mighty, decisive victory (2:0) at the crowded Janis Dalins Stadium. A ticket to the national football elite in the pocket and for the first time in the club’s early history, Valmiera had the opportunity to enjoy top-class football.

The era of the Virsliga for the club began in January 1997, the preparation for the season was conducted both outside, training in the fresh air, and the inflatable football arena near the current Valmiera State Gymnasium, in the weight room and the swimming pool. Over the following years, the team also participated in the Winter Cup organized by the Latvian Football Federation and in the international tournament in Palanga to ensure sharpness before the season. This preparation process followed for five years while playing in the highest league. From 1997 to 2001, the team never finished lower than 7th place. About 250 young children trained in the club’s academy and a women’s football team was also established. A good football base was created on Sporta Street, which included an artificial surface pitch, as well as two natural grass pitches.

2001 was the last year when it was possible to watch the Valmiera football club on the stage of the Virsliga. The budget was cut the year before. At the end of the season, sixth place was taken and the teams’ end-of-year event was followed with an announcement to the club’s players and employees – from now on, the football club’s activities will be dedicated to the development of youth football in the city and the Vidzeme region, for financial reasons, participation in the Virsliga was withdrawn. The work with the kids directly continued, because the goals were clear, the preparation of competitive players for the Latvian youth national teams.

Even though the team was withdrawn from participation in the 2002 championship of the Latvian highest league, with the help of the municipality of Valmiera, the city’s place in the top league was preserved and a team named SK “Valmiera” competed in it. The club transferred all the players who wanted to play in this new team without compensation. In this way, we saw two more seasons in Valmiera in the championship games of the Latvian football league. But that’s another story.

Two years later, Valmiera City Council followed up with an offer to represent the city with a team in the 2004 Latvian second-tier Championship. Considering all the pros and cons, the club’s decision was understandable – Valmiera FK will return to the 1st league. Gatis Erglis was confirmed as the team coach. The team was made up of football players who grew up in Valmiera. In the first season, 7th place was won in the competition of 14 teams, and 4th place among the non-second squad teams of the higher league.

In the following years, this course was also continued, the 1st league team continued to compete in this championship, but the head coach was changed, with Romans Sidorovs taking over. As the work continued, the second opportunity to fight for a place at the highest level of national football – Virsliga – was achieved. In 2006, the 2nd place among the main teams was given an opportunity in the playoffs, which ended with a bitter loss (0:5) against the players of FK Riga. On the other hand, the year 2007 was significant in that the new generation of Valmiera, the home-grown football product, entered the 1st league line-up. At this stage, the club had spread across Vidzeme, opening branches in Vaidava, Seda, and Mazsalaca.

In 2008, the name of the team changed – Valmiera FK/Viktoria. The new sponsor of the team and the owner of the company decided that the name of the club should include the names of his girlfriend. This name was changed a year later when the club’s management also changed – president Imants Saulitis and vice-president Valerijs Barkovs announced their resignations. Aleksejs Loginovs and Andis Adamsons took over the management of the club for part of the season, later Davis Sirmais was elected president, which was followed by a change of the team’s name – it was now called Valmieras FK/LFKA.

The swift boom of changes continued in 2010 when the well-known Gauja and Varpa organizations were also included under the football club due to a merger. Gatis Erglis, who had previously spent several years as a coach in the Jurmala team, returned to the position of head coach. The philosophy was not changed – the 1st league team was still represented by young people from Valmiera and Vidzeme. Another team name change occurred – Valmiera FK/BSS, while the club board gave the club a new motto – “Our honor is closer than the shirt”.

Step by step, the club acquired the process characteristic of the team that exists now – sharing games between the stadium of Janis Dalins and the Vidzeme Olympic Center of that time. As time passed, the requirements also grew – the 6th place achieved in 2010 allowed the club’s management to set a goal for the following season – to play no worse than the year before. In the end, ninth place, a step back in all possible indicators.

At a rapidly growing club, rapidly growing changes also continued – 2012 began with pleasant news – AS ”Valmiera Glass” became the general sponsor of the club for the second time, which supported the club also in its beginnings, when the team played in the Virsliga for the first time. The board of the club also resigned and a new one was elected – Arnis Vilks became the president of the club, and Gints Kragliks and Inga Apsite became members of the board. The club also got a new motto – “Feel the difference? Come and support yours – Valmiera FK!”. With the new management of the club in 2013, the girls’ team was returned to the system, while the 1st league team reached third place, ranking right behind the teams of BFC Daugavpils and FB Gulbene.

The upward curve continued in the 2015 season, when the VALMIERA GLASS/BSS team won 2nd place in the 1st league, earning another run to push for a chance to enter the Virsliga. This time, the squad had to meet the FS Metta/University of Latvia team in the rematch. A 3-9 loss throughout two games meant the first league story had to continue. In the 2016 season, 4th place was obtained, under the new name – VALMIERA GLASS VIA.

In 2017, the long-awaited triumph in the 1st league championship followed, which allowed the team led by Gatis Erglis to get a direct ticket to the Latvian Football Virsliga. After entering the league, Erglis was replaced by Ukrainian specialist Nikolai Trubachov as the team’s head coach, under whose leadership the team finished the season in 8th place.

Keeping a place in the Virsliga due to its expansion followed significant changes in the club as well. Thanks to the attracted investments, another helping hand appeared in the club and Georgian coach Tamaz Pertia was appointed as the head coach of the team. He spent three seasons at the helm of the team, being able to create an upward curve in the development of the club’s results. The team finished 2019 in 4th place, which was a big event – the medals slipped away in the very last game of the season. However, they earned the right to debut in the Eurocups the following season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only one match was played on the European stage, losing to Poznań Lech 0:3 away, but the good news in 2020 was the bronze medal, which was followed by silver in 2021. In the year 2020, the club changed its name for the last time, acquiring the current one – Valmiera FC.

As the 2022 season approached, it became known that Pertia would not continue working with the team, but Jurgis Kalns had been working in his place since the beginning of the training camp. In the middle of February, a decision was made and it was officially announced that Kalns will be the head coach of the team and Gatis Kalnins will assist him.

Perhaps this decision was the cornerstone of an unforgettable experience. Like a well-oiled engine, the team ran towards its first Latvian championship title. In the summer, the greatest achievement of all time in the history of Latvian football’s top leagues was repeated – 15 victories in a row. November 12, 2022, was written in golden letters in the history of the club. In the final round, FK Liepaja led by former coach Tamaz Pertia was beaten 2-0 away, allowing Valmiera FC to celebrate their first Latvian top league gold.

The year 2023 brought winds of changes to Valmiera, the team said goodbye to several of its leaders after winning the championship title. Team captain Raimonds Krollis went to the Italian Serie A club Spezia. Daisuke Yokota, Roman Yakuba, Ivan Zhelizko, and Camilo Mena found new homes in Poland and continued their careers there. On the other hand, the club experienced an unforgettable explosion of emotions, for the first time in Valmiera, at the Janis Dalins Stadium, the Eurocup matches were played and a debut in the UEFA Champions League qualifying tournament was held.

On July 19, Dalins Stadium hosted 1,300 spectators who had come to watch the duel between Valmiera FC and Olimpija Ljubljana. Although there were opportunities and hope to overcome the first round, the wall of the Slovenian club turned out to be stronger. The story of the Eurocups of Valmiera continued – in the second qualification round of the Conference League, where the San Marino Tre Penne team was beaten 10-0. The European tour ended against the Albanian Partizani team. In the remaining part of the season, the team had to fight for a place in the top four, allowing us to play in the Conference League qualification in the new year 2024.

The season of Virsliga went like ups and downs, with the end of the season being taut. All’s well that ends on a positive note. By beating FS Jelgava 1:0 in the penultimate round, the European ticket was in the pocket. Still, after playing 1:1 with Riga FC in the last round, it became known that this time the team finished outside the top three, putting an end to the season in 4th place.

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