Everyone wants to be on the VIU Mariners.
After two straight trips to nationals, Vancouver Island University’s men’s soccer program has seen a ton of interest this pre-season as players look to make the 2012 team.
Every time the coaches come close to choosing a roster, more guys show up at practice.
“There’s a lot of competition, especially amongst some of the younger players this year,” said Bill Merriman, the team’s coach. “We’ve got a very good group of first-year players, probably one of the strongest I’ve seen in awhile up at VIU.”
There are also a few familiar faces. Chris Merriman, Davis Stupich and goalkeeper Robbie Cochrane all return to the team after helping the M’s win a national championship in 2010.
Cochrane’s return means that VIU has three keepers – Scott Brown is coming off a strong spring soccer season last year with the Victoria Highlanders and Dan Mercer helped VIU to a national bronze medal last season.
“It’s very interesting to watch,” said Merriman.
Overall, the Mariners envision having a lot of depth and strength at all positions.
“We’ve got a lot of good leadership with the team, mixed in with the new players,” said the coach. “That’s the best for us, being able to have the combination of the two.”
GAME ON … The Mariners start the Pacific Western Athletic Association season Saturday (Sept. 8) with a road game at Langara … Look for a season preview on the team in a future issue of the News Bulletin