Above: 📷 viu.ca
By Sports and Lifestyle Editor Cole Schisler
Chloe Gummer, Forward
In her first year as a Mariner, Chloe Gummer was named a PACWEST All-Star for her high scoring season.
Chloe was among the leading scorers in the division, finishing the season with six goals. In the Mariners’ final match at Nationals, Chloe scored a hat-trick, and was named player of the match.
“I want to continue with this success,” she says. “I plan to work hard this summer to be at the same level by next year.”
For the off-season, Chloe is focused on her studies. She plans to go into nursing next year with an interest in pediatrics. She sees herself staying at VIU for the full five years of her PACWEST eligibility, and says her experience with the Mariners has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s definitely given me more of a community,” she says. “A lot of my really good friends are from the team, it gives me more of a place that I belong.”
Chloe grew up in Comox, and has been playing soccer for most of her life. She went to Highland Secondary, where she had an interest in track and field, volleyball, and basketball. After high school, she chose to focus on soccer. She says that soccer has helped her to be more confident in her studies, and has given her a strong drive
“I’m pretty hard on myself,” she says. “I take it personally if I don’t do well, so it motivates me to do the best that I can, especially during games.”
Her parents have supported her every step of the way. They came to every Mariners home game, and attended some away games. Chloe says that she has a very strong family support system. She has great relationships with her parents, and her two sisters.
For her schooling, Chloe is living in Nanaimo, away from her family in Comox. Despite that, she feels she has a strong sense of support from them, and from her teammates. She encourages anyone with an interest in soccer to play at the post-secondary level.
“Focus on your goals, keep working hard toward them, and you will succeed,” she says.
Hussein Behery, Midfielder
Hussein Behery had a bit of a quiet year in his first season with the Mariners. Still, his skill in soccer is evident through his hard work on the field. Hussein has been playing soccer for most of his life.
Originally from Cairo, Egypt, Hussein started playing soccer at the age of five. He attended an American school in Cario, and was encouraged by his parents to join a club team. Hussein’s father had always loved soccer, and they often played together. He told Hussein that he had a talent for the game.
After high school, Hussein went abroad to play soccer in Finland. He trained with a first division team in a professional league, but never signed with them because they had too many international players. Hussein was with the team for a year when his visa expired, and he had to return home.
“My mom said I had to start school, so I decided to see if I could get a scholarship playing soccer,” he says. “I talked to Aly Adeeb, who’s on the team also, because we knew each other from a young age. I asked him if I could come, and he hooked me up with the head coach Bill Merriman.”
Hussein’s time in Finland helped him to learn more about soccer, and it taught him a lot about himself as a player. He has brought those skills with him to VIU, and hopes to put them to good use in his next season with the Mariners.
“It’s been amazing here,” he says. “All the boys, we’re like a family. We had a disappointing season last year, but we’re going to turn things around next season, since we’re hosting nationals here.”
Hussein says that the team has learned a lot since their last season, and says that the time in the off-season has helped the team to develop a stronger bond. The success of the Mariners teams in volleyball and basketball has lit a fire under the feet of the soccer teams, and Hussein says that they now have something to prove.
Hussein is taking a Bachelor of Arts here at VIU. He plans to transfer to a business degree, but is currently in the process of upgrading his math. He has four more years of eligibility with Mariners, and while he is likely to stay for his full five years, Hussein says that the nature of his soccer career has been unpredictable, so he does not plan too far into the future.
“I just live it day by day. If play here for my five years that would be great, but if I don’t then it wasn’t meant to be,” he says.
Despite an uncertain future, Hussein is making the most of his time with the Mariners. He recalls times where the team would sing “Wonderwall” at the top of their lungs while doing laps, and says he loves travelling with the team.
“We’re a bunch of jokers,” he says. “We like to make fun of each other and have a laugh. This past year we didn’t have as good a chemistry on the field, but we have a great chemistry off the field. That’s why next year I think things will turn around for us.”
Hussein is currently playing club soccer with the Nanaimo Men’s team, and he looks forward to the start of the Mariners season. He says that the team is taking shape, and the players have a good idea of what the team will look like.
Since VIU is hosting the CCAA Nationals next year, the Mariners are guaranteed a spot at Nationals. Hussein wants the Mariners to be the PACWEST Provincial Champions going in to Nationals. As the champions, the Mariners would have a higher seed, and greater momentum to win.
“We want to be provincial champions. I don’t think VIU has won in the last four years, so I think it’s about time for us to win provincials.”
Rachel Jones, Midfielder
Rachel Jones took the PACWEST division by storm this year, in her third season with the Mariners.
Rachel was named a PACWEST All-Star for her work. She was also named tournament MVP at the PACWEST provincial championships.
“It feels great to get that kind of recognition,” she says. “This year, I didn’t score a lot, but did a lot of hard work in setting up goals, and defending, so it was nice to be recognized.”
Her soccer career began at the age of four. Rachel was always fast as a kid, but it wasn’t until she was 13 that she realized she had talent in soccer. Her parents encouraged her to play soccer, and told her to pursue the opportunity of playing at the post-secondary level. They were the type of parents who would bring orange slices at half time and cheer proudly from the sidelines.
“My mom and dad were always there,” she said. “My dad’s never missed any of my games. I was injured when we went to Medicine Hat for Nationals two years ago, so I didn’t play, but my dad still came out and watched with me.”
Rachel has been with the Mariners for five years, but she has only used three years of her eligibility. One year, she was injured, and took another year off; although she did practice with the Mariners that year. Rachel has two years of eligibility left, but she is unsure if she is coming back or not. She applied for a program in Toronto, and says her plans are dependent on whether she gets accepted. Rachel says that playing for the Mariners has made her university experience a lot better.
“I instantly knew a bunch of people at university, instead of coming in and not knowing anyone, or not being able to find my classrooms,” she said. “The older girls showed me everything when I was younger, and now I’m showing the younger girls.”
Rachel grew up in Parksville, and had been travelling around the Island, and to Vancouver, to play soccer for most of her life. She says that the travel has become routine for her, but she loves travelling with the team. The team usually turns into a big study group on the ferry rides to Vancouver. Rachel says it’s been helpful to learn in that environment.
The team is tight knit, and the players have a lot of fun together. Rachel reminisced with a smile about how if anybody was late for a ferry, bus, or a team meeting, they would have to loudly sing a song of the team’s choosing. Rachel has never had to sing a song.
“Everyone watches and everyone cheers them on. There’s been some embarrassing songs, I can tell you that,” she says.
Rachel has thoroughly enjoyed her experience with the Mariners. She encourages all aspiring athletes to play at the post-secondary level.
“Definitely do it if you have the opportunity. It makes your university experience a whole lot better. It keeps you busy, it keeps you going.”
Shun Takano, Midfielder
Shun Takano was named PACWEST Men’s soccer player of the year for his exceptional performance in his first year with the Mariners.
Shun came to VIU from Chiba, Japan, which is a city close to Tokyo. When he was two years old, his parents enrolled him in swimming lessons. They had hopes that he would turn out to be a competitive swimmer, but a romantic fling in kindergarten changed the trajectory of his athletic life.
“My lover said, ‘soccer boys are perfect,’ so I thought maybe I should play soccer,” Shun said.
His parents told him that he could only play soccer if he passed his next swimming test. He did pass his swimming test, and from that point on, soccer became his true love.
Shun played soccer with a club team in Chiba. The league was small, and he felt like he needed to be playing at a higher level. His father told him to join a school team, so he did. Out of 400 kids who tried out, Shun was one of the 25 players who were chosen.
He always had dreams of playing soccer professionally, but he could not make it into the Japanese professional league, so he decided to play in a foreign country. Shun went to Montenegro to play soccer, and had a contract signed, but the team did not have a license for international players.
From there, he went to play for a club team in Croatia. While in Croatia, Shun had a lot of trouble communicating, so he decided he wanted to learn English, and get an education. A friend recommended he pursue an education in Canada, and he chose VIU. Despite the struggles that led him to the Mariners, Shun came out with a banner year.
“[The success] feels fantastic because I couldn’t speak enough with my teammates, all I could do was play soccer,” he said. “I just followed my heart, worked hard, and gave 100 percent focus to soccer. It turned out great.”
Communicating with the team became easier over time, but it was Shun’s biggest struggle in the season. He recognizes he needs more communication with his team too succed. He is open to constructive criticism from his team, and wants to learn with the team so that they can play better as a whole. Shun says that despite the language barrier, the team accepted him for
who he was.
“They don’t care if I can or can’t speak English. They look at my personality and say Shun is Shun. That’s why I am so happy. I’m never embarrassed about my English. It’s amazing for me.”
Next year, the Mariners will be the host team for CCAA nationals. Shun says that he wants the Mariners to be the CCAA champions. To achieve that, he says the team needs to needs to develop a strong group mentality, play for each other, and build up good physical stamina.
Shun is looking forward to a future with the Mariners. He knows that making the pros is hard work, and he is satisfied with where he is. In the future, Shun hopes to become a coach for young Canadian soccer players.
“I want to change the Canadian soccer environment,” he says. “There is good money, great support, and stadiums, but the coaching needs work. I want more focus on skill, being tactical, and having good communication. Canada is taking care of me now, I want a give to back to Canada through soccer.”
Cole is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in creative writing, minoring in political science. He has an interest in all things exciting, mundane, or otherwise. He hopes to one day become an author, actor, comedian, editor, and rapper, while moonlighting as an astronaut.