Pacific FC club captain Jamar Dixon has officially hung up his boots.
For many athletes, retirement is a dreaded milestone that’s often postponed as long as possible. But Dixon is a self-described “unique individual,” who says he’s always tried to do things the opposite way. He has actually been planning his step away from playing for some time.
Dixon is taking on the role of manager of football and player development with Pacific FC. The job will involve supporting the first team as well as working to develop local youth players through the Vancouver Island Wave program.
The move was something he’d thought about throughout this season, having many conversations with Rob Friend, chief executive officer of Pacific FC, and former teammate Julian de Guzman – both former professionals who made the transition from on-field to off-field executive roles. They helped support and guide him through the process.
“As a player, you don’t know what’s next right away. I didn’t want to be that player. I just wanted to plan to figure out what’s next and how to position myself to do so,” he said. “I could play for another three years easily if I want. You also have to be smart, and you have to navigate your situation.”
The wheels had already been turning, with Dixon taking on coaching roles with the Island Wave program during the season, working with the under-14 and under-16 teams in the Island Wave program. So far it’s gone well, with the under-14s winning a championship and the under-16s so far undefeated this year.
“I could have thought about continuing, but I think I would be able to offer more if I stepped away from the game. I will be able to help players that are coming to the club, new players, I can help with explaining what the culture is, and doing all the little things creates a better environment all around, and the standard then rises. That’s what I want. I want Pacific to continue to win championships.”
Dixon’s professional journey was a unique one. The Canadian Premier League was set up partially as a development league, in order to give players opportunities to showcase their talents and then move onto the next level, often in Europe. Dixon went the other way, having played with the Victoria Highlanders for a couple of years, Dixon moved to Sweden, playing in the lower divisions there before moving to several clubs in Finland, reaching the first division before returning to Canada.
“I think me going to Europe was what I was supposed to do. If the CPL was around, I mean, that would have been something where I probably would have been looking to get into another professional league in our country.”
Even though he says it was the right decision, Dixon says it’s important for players in the Canadian Premier League to help raise the standard of the league, so young players don’t have to go far afield to further their careers. Now Dixon thinks he’ll be able to best that working off the field.
“It’s a matter of me trying to get back to shape some of these youth, to get their chance to some national team or to make their dreams of going abroad reality. And I’m someone that I think can help with that because I’ve been through it and in a completely different way than a lot of people have.”