Michael Silberbauer (right) speaks with a fan after being named Pacific FC’s first head coach during a press conference at the City Center Park Pond in Langford on Monday.  (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Michael Silberbauer (right) speaks with a fan after being named Pacific FC’s first head coach during a press conference at the City Center Park Pond in Langford on Monday. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Michael Silberbauer named first coach of Pacific FC

The Island's James Merriman named assistant coach

While the Canadian Premier League (CPL) announced it will be bringing the first professional soccer team to Langford last month, the next question was who would lead the team as head coach?

Pacific FC has found the answer in Michael Silberbauer, who was named head coach of the Langford-based team Monday.

“It’s great. It’s unique what’s happening here right now. It’s a big thing getting your own league in a country of this size. There’s so much potential here,” Silberbauer said.

“This is a huge opportunity to make something really great with young kids who are willing to learn and are motivated to make a dream come true.”

Silberbauer has been involved in professional football for more than 20 years. Originally from Denmark, he signed his first professional contract when he was a teenager and carried on to have a successful career, playing for the Danish national team and participating in the 2012 Euros. He’s played numerous positions over the years including striker and mid-field, left and right winger, and defensive mid-fielder.

Most recently, he was an assistant with the Swiss Super League Club FC Luzern.

“We wanted to find someone who could develop a technical foundation to support the growth of the game in the region. Someone with international experience, a global perspective, but also someone who is passionate about growing the game locally in the community,” Pacific FC CEO Rob Friend said about hiring Silberbauer.

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While Silberbauer had other offers on the table, he chose the West Shore team because of the chance to build a club, including the players and fans, from the ground up.

“The biggest factor was being a part of building something and giving kids a chance, that’s something that speaks to my heart,” he said. “People [in Langford] have been very friendly and the city is very nice. I have a really good feeling about it.”

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Despite flying into town last Friday, he’s showing no signs of slowing now. Silberbauer and Pacific FC upper management have already started putting together a player profile to determine the types of players they’d like to see on the team.

They will start by looking at the roughly 100 Canadian players who are currently playing overseas, before scouting some foreign talent as well.

From there, Silberbauer will focus on getting to know players and building relationships with them – something he believes is key to a strong team.

“I’m looking for dynamic players. The most important thing is building that relationship with everybody,” Silberbauer said.

“I’m a true believer in hard work and we’ll take it from there. If we get the team spirit right, we’ll be better than most.”

The team also named the Island’s own James Merriman as assistant coach.

Merriman oversees the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-15 residency team, which feeds into the U-17 and U-19 residency teams.

Pacific FC is one of the inaugural teams in the CPL alongside Hamilton, Winnipeg, York, Halifax, Edmonton, Ottawa and Calgary.

The season kicks off next April with home games taking place at the soon-to-be-expanded Westhills Stadium.


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kendra.wong@gold

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