Mike Willis: A farewell to fifth-year Dinos

By Ruth Davenport

What would you say to a soccer goalie who says, "It hasn’t hit me yet?"

Probably something along the lines of "DUCK!"

In the case of Mike Willis, however, "Just wait ’til next year… " is probably more appropriate.

Willis, goalie for the Dinos for the last five years, has come to the end of his eligibility as a varsity athlete and will pursue academic glory from now on.

"Right now, it just feels like we’re out of season," said Willis, looking contemplative and fashion-enabled. "Next year, pre-season will be tough though… when you realize that something you’ve been a part of for so long, you’re not directly involved with from now on."

It’s been a good run for Willis, so good that he can’t pick one moment above the rest that screams "extraordinary!" at him.

"I could’ve picked any number of events from the last year that stand out," he declared with confidence. "We finished third in Canada West, we were nationally ranked for most of the year… there’s a lot of really memorable things to look at; it’s hard to really pick one."

After graduating last June with a degree in law and society, Willis believed he served his time in net, but after some contemplation, decided to give taking the shots another shot.

"The way that we finished last year, I didn’t play as much as I wanted to; our team really battled. We did a lot of growing up through that year. I thought that was going to be it and I was pretty upset about that."

The decision to return was an easy one and Willis is pleased to finish his career on a more upbeat note.

"The extra year was really a bonus, there was a chance to have a leadership role, to help the guys playing after me, and then just to have the season we did where we were winning and enjoying ourselves and having good results… Amazing."

Normally a force to be reckoned with in front of the net–he recorded two shutouts this season for the Dinos–Willis squirmed a bit when asked about the legacy he leaves behind.

"How can you put me on the spot at a time like this?" he wailed when asked how he’d be remembered and how he’d remember the Dinos soccer legion. A few minutes of prodding and the erstwhile collected GQ-esque Willis produced a few solid statements.

"I think I’ll be remembered as a guy who played with a lot of heart, who made soccer a priority. I’d like to be remembered as a goalie who, when I played, we always had a chance to win. It’d be nice to have a reputation as being solid, yeah, solid, just reliable."

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