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.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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

(File photo)
RCMP act quickly in response to report of gun-toting man in Parksville

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

(Google maps photo)
COVID-19: Case confirmed at École Oceanside Elementary School in Parksville

Dates of exposure were Thursday, Feb. 25 and Friday, Feb. 26

Donna Hales next to one of her paintings of Sooke. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Donna Hales still displaying her work at age 94

Current exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre through April 1

Thrifty Foods at 280 Island Highway East in Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Thrifty Foods store in Parksville briefly closes after small fire

Minimal damage and no injuries reported; store expected to re-open after 5 p.m.

(Philip Wolf photo)
WOLF: What’s in a name (2.0)? Parksville offers interesting list of dog monikers

List includes Rembrandt, Swayze, Zorro, Fabio, Fonzie and Yoda

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read