Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team will have a familiar face leading the program on an interim basis.
Niko Marcina has been named the Cascades’ interim head coach. The Surrey, B.C. product spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach on Rob Giesbrecht’s staff; Giesbrecht recently departed to accept a Manager of Soccer Operations position at Trinity Western University.
Steve Tuckwood, UFV director of athletics and campus recreation, felt that Marcina’s familiarity with the UFV roster will serve the program well as the search begins for Giesbrecht’s permanent replacement this fall.
“We’re pleased to have a coach of Niko’s calibre to lead the program on an interim basis,” Tuckwood said. “Niko is familiar with the program, having been here for five years already, and the players are certainly excited to have him lead.”
Marcina brings a wealth of coaching experience to UFV. He is the director of coaching at New Westminster Soccer Club, and also serves currently as a support staff coach with BC Soccer, and as a coach with the Vancouver Whitecaps Academy. He holds a national B coaching license from the Canadian Soccer Association, and a technical director diploma from BC Soccer. He’s previously served as a head coach in the BC Soccer Premier League, leading youth squads from Surrey United SC and Fraser Valley FC to Provincial Cup titles.
Marcina had a highly decorated playing career with the UBC Thunderbirds – he was a three-time team MVP, led Canada West in assists in 2005, and helped the T-Birds to a pair of national championships (2005 and 2007).
A graduate of Surrey’s Tamanawis Secondary, Marcina holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics from UBC, and a Master’s in Recreation and Sport Science from Ohio University.
“I’m fortunate to be in a position such as this,” Marcina said. “I’m coming in well-prepared, as I’ve been under the tutelage of Rob Giesbrecht for the past five years. He’s taught me quite a bit, and based on that experience, I’m confident going into this position that the players will not only accept what I have to offer in the interim, but I’m positive that they will grow and develop both on and off the field.”
Marcina acknowledged the unique challenges of leading a program amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be no Canada West conference competition for soccer this fall, and while exhibition play is a possibility, it’s uncertain at what point provincial health regulations would allow for that.
“My main priority will be getting a gauge on the players and how they’re feeling mentally and emotionally in these times,” he said. “I’ll look to build on personal relationships and learn how I can best support them.”