When Jamar Dixon first came to Vancouver Island, back in 2009, he was a young collegiate footballer looking to further develop his game with the Victoria Highlanders of the PDL.
It was there that he met James Merriman, a veteran player on the team who helped Dixon to adjust to life on the Island and grow as both a player and an individual.
Over a decade later, Merriman is now the head coach of the Canadian Premier League’s Pacific FC. The club announced Tuesday morning that Dixon will now be joining Pacific FC’s front office as Manager of Football and Player Development, looking to provide similar guidance to the Island’s young footballers as Merriman did all those years ago for him.
“To see everything come full circle [like that] is destiny, to be honest with you,” Dixon told CanPL.ca.
As part of his role, the 33-year-old Dixon will provide support for the first team while also working with young players in the area through the Vancouver Island Wave program.
After spending multiple seasons playing professionally in Scandinavia, before joining the Ottawa Fury, Dixon returned to the island to join Pacific as a player in 2020. He captained the club to a North Star Shield in 2021, and their first-ever Concacaf League appearance this past year.
On Sept. 29, Dixon announced that this would be the final season of his professional career. But even if he would no longer be doing it on the field, Dixon knew he wanted to stick around the club, and continue to contribute to its growth.
“You want to build a culture and you want to keep raising the standard of the league,” he said. “I see that in Pacific, I see where we can be. It’s a good place to develop. Having won a championship here, that’s special and that’s special for the staff, the front office, everyone, the players, the fans, so we have to continue to strive for that feeling again.”
Halfway through this season, knowing that his career as a player was reaching an end, Dixon began speaking with then-Pacific CEO Rob Friend. A former professional player and Canadian international himself, Friend was able to help field a number of Dixon’s questions about what life was like after his playing career concluded.
They began to discuss a potential role within the club for Dixon after his career had concluded, and eventually settled on building on his experience with the Vancouver Island Wave U-14 and U-16 sides. As Manager of Football and Player Development, he is looking forward to using his wealth of playing experience to help the Island’s young players further hone their craft.
“I got to learn a lot of things in a short period of time at a young age,” said Dixon. “If I can make things easier for the youth and give them the right advice and guidance to help them to go after their dreams and actually achieve success then that is what I will do. There’s a lot of talent on the Island here. It’s an untapped market, in my opinion, just a matter of giving the right direction.”
He hopes under his guidance, more players from the island will be able to take their game to the next level, whether that is through collegiate opportunities or professional. He also understands the opportunity he has, to grow as a coach and member of the front office — one that might not have existed if it wasn’t for the Canadian Premier League.
“If the CPL wasn’t here, I can’t say that an opportunity like this would have presented itself,” he said. “I can’t predict the future, but what I do know is the CPL is here, and it is here to stay and I’m just fortunate enough to get this chance.”