Monday, January 3, 2022

One of the common themes through many of our profiles has been the lure of the greater Spokane community and the northwest. The story of Mike Oliver is no different, and it has produced three outstanding players and a pair of coaches within the family and many more beyond.

“Originally from Orange County in California, we had extended family in Spokane and visited frequently. When time allowed we decided this is where we wanted to raise a family. In 2006, we made the move.”

But the one thing that was a constant was that he was going to be a coach, following in his father’s footsteps.

“I grew up in a coaching household. My dad was a high school football coach and the effect he had on his players both on and off the field was admirable. He was a huge influence in my coaching career.”

Something that has continued through Oliver now during his career with the Sounders.

The coaching career though did not start immediately, though. A lifelong player from the age of four and a multi-sport athlete through high school, Oliver started coaching when his oldest daughter stepped on the pitch.

“I began coaching in Southern California in 2002 when Megan began playing. Megan was a quick standout in her AYSO league and made the All-Star team in 2004 – playing up in age – and I was asked to coach the All-Star team in 2004 and 2005 and was able to coach my daughter on both.

“When I moved to Spokane in 2006 we were looking for the right fit for my oldest Megan and my middle daughter Alexa, who was just beginning.

“I coached my two daughters in recreation soccer a bit before needing a more competitive environment for both. After much research we found that SSC Elite was a great fit for my oldest Megan. In 2009 I brought my middle daughter’s team that I was coaching into the club as today’s 2004s. I was with Elite from 2009 until we merged with Shadow (now Sounders) under Sean Bushey and Abbas Faridnia in 2012. I have been coaching at the club level in Spokane under Abbas since 2009, making this my 12th year.”

The move to Elite also led to Oliver meeting Jason Bellefeuille, a moment that led to further enhancement of Oliver’s coaching and the forging a close friendship between the two, who seem inseparable out on the fields.

“My mentors along the way have shaped me into the coach I am today. Jason brought me into club soccer and taught me the importance of player development versus winning at all cost. I’ve had the pleasure and been lucky enough to coach under the guidance of Jason, Abbas, Dan Philp and Kevin Moon, who are in my opinion are the best mentors in the game.”

That move, though, may have also had an influence on the Oliver family with three daughters all finding success on the field and off. In fact, Megan has now returned to the fold as a coach for some of the club’s youngest as her little sister is finishing out her Sounders career this spring.

“I have had three daughters come up through the club. I was fortunate enough to coach them all, turning them over to a highly qualified coaching staff each at U12.”

Janis, a four year varsity high school player and GSL First Team selection the past two years, and her 2003/04 GA side are set to begin their final campaign this weekend.

Alexa also played four years varsity soccer before going into the dental field.

Megan was also a standout in high school, but was unfortunately sidelined with knee injuries. She attended Grand Canyon and flirted with their soccer program as a walk-on only to have injuries continue to sideline her playing career.

But like her father, who also works in the health care industry, Megan went on to finish a nursing degree and has now fully followed in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and taken leading the next generation.

“I couldn’t be more proud that Megan has decided to coach in our club and give back. She has a wealth of knowledge and a caring spirit that will be the most beneficial to the players lucky enough to cross paths with her not only on, but off the pitch.” – Check out Megan’s Coach Profile Here [+]

With Janis just finishing high school, time will tell if she follows a similar path to her father and or sisters. But in the meantime you can expect to find Mike Oliver on the pitch or enjoying life with those close to him (odds are either involves Jason Bellefeuille).

“I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, making the most of what you’re given and working hard to earn what you want.”


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