Volume 96, Issue 57
Friday, January 10, 2003

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Hustlin' with new soccer coach Mike Van Bussel

By Ryan Hickman
Gazette Staff

Over the holiday break, the Western women's soccer team added a new look to their head coaching position with the promotion of former assistant coach Mike Van Bussel, who replaced former boss Mark Eys. Van Bussel takes over a very talented team that made it to the Nationals this past year.

The Gazette talked to the new coach and asked him about his upcoming challenges.

What credentials do you bring to the table as a head coach?

I have coached locally here in London for the past 10 years in women's soccer. I took my master's in coaching at the University of Victoria in the National Coaching Institute program. I spent my 14 months in Victoria under Dale Dew, who is the Under 17 Women's National soccer coach. I had some great experiences out there and coming back here as an assistant with Western was also great, but now I am looking forward to the challenge ahead.

What responsibilities have you already started to focus on for next year?

Right now, recruiting is key and we're also working on our off-season training and our indoor program, where we play at Soccer Magic [a local indoor facility]. It's going to be difficult because of the double cohort next year and the influx of quality players that will be coming in. A majority of our players are returning, so they know what it takes to get there and have put in a commitment to the program.

What are you going to do as a head coach to overcome the problem Western had last season with not closing out big games like the OUA finals and at the Nationals?

We have set our goal for this coming season to win the Ontario championships. The past season, this group played very well and battled back through adversity and never gave up. With the weather that we faced at Nationals in Edmonton, they could have just packed it in, but they didn't.

What is your relationship with the players, stepping into the head coaching role?

I am the coach of a women's provincial team in the summer that a lot of the girls play on, so it is a nice progression right into the university season. Last year, we were in the Regional division of the Ontario Women's Soccer League, but won that and have moved up to the Provincial division, which is the top amateur women's soccer league in the province.


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