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End Of An Era

Photo courtesy of Northfield Photography
Photo courtesy of Northfield Photography

Story courtesy of Brent Dunlop - VIU Athletics

Vancouver Island University head coach of the men’s soccer team Bill Merriman is retiring after 9 successful seasons with the Mariners. Bill took over the program in 2009 and had instant success, winning a PACWEST silver medal in his first year and then went on to win a CCAA National Championship in 2010. Under Bill’s leadership the team continued to find success, winning national medals in 2011, 2012, 2014 and then the most special of all, another CCAA National Championship this year on home turf.

“It’s so special that Bill can retire as a National Champion. This is the dream of many coaches and it is a tribute to Bill and a fitting way to finish his VIU career,” said Stephanie White, VIU’s Director, High Performance Sport, Recreation and Physical Literacy.

Bill was recognized as a PACWEST coach of the year three times (2009, 2011, 2014), in 2011 the CCAA awarded him the National Coaching Excellence award.

Captain of the Mariner Men’s soccer team, Jeff Travis played five years for Bill at VIU.

“Bill's contribution and dedication to VIU and the soccer community in the central island in general is unimaginably huge. He is very knowledgeable, knows how to get the best out of his players, and knows how to win games,” remarks Jeff.

Recruiting and retaining top talent locally and internationally has been one of Bill’s talents that made the VIU Mariners a contender year after year.

“Bill is a very generous, friendly, and compassionate person. He often opens up his home to players that can't find their own place to live, and would not even blink if a player showed up to his house for dinner unannounced, on any night of the week,” says Jeff

Just this year the team had an amazing 12 senior players wrap up their collegiate soccer careers at VIU! Some of those players being from Venezuela, Japan, Egypt, Italy and Serbia bringing their own special international touch to the team.

Bill is one of the most prominent soccer coaches on Vancouver Island, and he made his mark across the country with the Mariners. He has been involved with just about every soccer organization in the region, developing great programs and events.

“Bill has left a legacy at VIU and positioned this program for success for years to come,” Comments Stephanie White.