The best college soccer in Canada is about to be played on Nanaimo turf.
The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association men’s soccer championships get underway Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Merle Logan Field.
The Vancouver Island University Mariners missed out on a medal at PacWest provincials earlier this month, but are still alive in the playoffs thanks to their host berth.
“I think we’ve earned it in our reputation and how we’ve done over the past seven, eight years,” said Bill Merriman, the team’s coach. “We’ve made enough trips to the nationals and medalled and I think the boys and the program definitely deserve a chance to host it.”
VIU’s men are up against the Indiens d’Ahuntsic in the tournament’s opening-day feature game.
The Indiens, like most of the participating teams, are provincial champions, having knocked off the Élans de Garneau in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant championship.
Other participating teams at nationals include the Keyano Huskies, the Holland Hurricanes, the Algonquin Thunder, the Douglas Royals, the Durham Lords and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Ooks.
“Everybody’s pretty excited and I know the whole university’s working hard, as well as, obviously, our team,” said Merriman. “It’s a big event for everybody.”
GAME ON … Wednesday’s VIU match starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for a day pass, $5 for students ages 13-18 and free for children. Tickets to championship Saturday are $15 for a day pass or $10 for students. A tournament pass costs $30.