CHEK Upside: Vikes men’s soccer coach calling time on career

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He’s been a UVic sporting fixture, but after 34 years Bruce Wilson is retiring as the coach of the Vikes men’s soccer team.

“I’ve never had a bad day at work, it’s great working with young players,” says Wilson in the stands of Centennial Stadium.

His professional soccer career began as a player with the Vancouver Whitecaps after Wilson had to make a choice. He had just landed a job at a Vancouver High School when it was announced that he made the team.

“I had an immediate meeting with the principal…who said ‘Oh I see you’ve made the team, what are you going to do,” says Wilson.

“I looked at him and said ‘I’m going to do both,’ he said ‘you’re not going to do both.'”

From there Wilson’s career flourished.

He was a part of Canada’s 1984 Olympics run that ended in the quarter-finals and was the captain for Canada’s only FIFA World Cup appearance in 1986.

“Most of the players had 10 to 13 years professional experience and we had a good run there from about ’83 right through ’86,” says Wilson.

After his time as a player ended, Wilson transitioned to life on the sidelines as coach of the UVic Vikes men’s squad, leading the team to three national championships and seven Canada West titles.

“We’ve had a lot of good people over the years,” says Wilson.

“I think every day coming to training is great and I loved it.”

“He’s one of the best guys around, to be honest,” says graduating Vikes player and captain Evan Libke.

“He was a mentor to a lot of us and it was an honour to play for him for the last five or six years here.”

After so many years in the sport, Wilson admits that it will be hard not to be involved with the team, but he’s satisfied with the legacy he’ll leave behind.

“I have no complaints at all,” smiles Wilson.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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