VIU Mariners coach Larry Stefanek. (Black Press File Photo)

VIU Mariners coach Larry Stefanek. (Black Press File Photo)

Parksville soccer coach Stefanek earns special national certification

VIU Mariners head coach one of 30 in Canada to complete program

Larry Stefanek had a great season last year in his second term as head coach of the Vancouver Island University Mariners men’s soccer team.

The Mariners made it to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association soccer final but fell short against Durham Lords, losing 3-2 in the national title game.

Coming so close to a national crown has motivated Stefanek to key in on this goal this season. He is well-prepared as he has just completed his Canada Soccer A Licence certification, which is currently the top-level certification in the Performance Stream of Canada’s Soccer Coach Education Program for senior players currently playing in a college, university, professional club or academy environment.

Stefanek was one of 30 coaches who participated in the two-year certification program but will have to wait to put those skills into play.

READ MORE: Parksville Qualicum Beach seniors get a kick out of ‘walking soccer’

The Mariners soccer season and CCAA championships have all been cancelled.

“No games are being allowed at this time due to COVID-19,” said Stefanek. “It is disappointing but there are more important things than playing. That’s the reality now.”

Stefanek said the Mariners are keen to start playing again with the goal of achieving a national championship.

“We built our program,” said Stefanek. “We lost some players but we brought in some new good players. We wanted to build on that once we get back there and finish the business off. It’s going to have to wait another year now.”

Some of the Mariners players are in their senior year at VIU and disappointed that soccer has been cancelled. But Stefanek said all is not lost.

“I have few guys who are in this position but there is a silver lining,” Stefanek explained. “It won’t count as a year of their eligibility because the national championships are cancelled.”

The Mariners did start training in the first week of September but because many of their players now play in the Vancouver Island Soccer League, they had to stop.

“Since they’re all in a cohort with their club team, and our VIU team is another separate cohort, there can’t be two cohorts at the same time, which makes sense,” said Stefanek.

Despite not playing, Stefanek said the players are still receiving their scholarship.

“It’s a credit to VIU for doing that,” said Stefanek. “It gives a bit of stability and give our players an opportunity to come back even though they’re doing their courses online for the most part. It’s important they take care of them financially in terms of scholarships.”

Stefanek is also coaching the Ballenas Whalers high school soccer team. For now, the Whalers are allowed to conduct skills and drills but the B.C. High School Sports Association has yet to make a decision whether inter-school games would be allowed.

“It’s a work in progress,” said Stefanek. “We’re hoping we will eventually be able to play against other schools but right now there’s no games at all. It’s all up in the air right now. It’s tough for the kids.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

High School SportssoccerVIU

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Homeless people in Parksville Qualicum Beach are without a designated cold-weather shelter. (PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach council looks to solve area’s cold-weather shelter problem

Harrison: ‘It’s likely that there will be a hard winter for a lot of folks’

Mick Sherlock visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studios. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Talking music with Billy Shakespeare’s Mick Sherlock

Podcast: Qualicum Beach musician came to area from Calgary

Stock photo
Rent bank being set up to help renters in need on the mid Island

Nanaimo-region B.C. Rent Bank, also serving Parksville, Qualicum and Lantzville, starts in January

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read