Ian Bridge enters his third season as an assistant coach for the Nebraska soccer team in 2017. In his first two seasons, he has helped the Huskers to a 19-13-7 record, including a trip to the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
In his first season at Nebraska, the Huskers went 8-7-2 overall, which included a 4-0 start and two wins over top-25 teams. In his second year, NU finished sixth in the Big Ten, and with one of the toughest schedules in the nation, qualified for the NCAA Tournament with an 11-6-5 mark.
Before Nebraska, Bridge spent two years as an assistant coach for the University of Victoria men’s soccer team. Bridge helped the Vikes to a 10-3-3 overall record for the 2014 season, including a trip to the men’s Canada West Final Four.
A native of Victoria, B.C., Bridge stacks up an impressive list of coaching experience, acting as the head coach for the University of Victoria women’s soccer team for 11 seasons from 1990 to 2001. During his time at Victoria, Bridge developed the program from club to full varsity status and a perennial conference leader. In 1998 and 2000, Victoria captured its first two Canada West Conference titles in the program’s history. The team added silver and bronze medals at the CIS National Championships those same two years.
Bridge served as an assistant coach for the Canadian Women’s National Team from 1997 to 2009. During that time, Canada qualified for the Women’s World Cup in 1999, 2003 and 2007, while adding an appearance in the 2008 Olympics. At the 2003 Women’s World Cup, Canada finished fourth, marking its best showing at a World Cup.
He was the head coach for the Canada U-19/U-20 women’s team from 2001 to 2008, leading the team to a 1-0 overtime loss to USA in the U-19 World Cup final in 2002. He helped lead Canada to four consecutive U-20 FIFA World Cup appearances in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 before stepping down in 2009. Bridge also served as the head coach of the women’s U-17 team (2009-2010).
From 2010 to 2012, Bridge was the head coach of the Victoria Highlanders PDL men’s team and helped the Highlanders earn a berth into the 2011 SW playoffs.
Before entering the coaching scene, Bridge enjoyed over a decade-long professional soccer career from 1979 to 1991. Bridge began as a defender in the North American Soccer League (NASL) with the Seattle Sounders (1979-83) before a season with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 1984. He played in 124 games in six seasons with the NASL and recorded 13 career goals before traveling to Switzerland to play for the FC La Chaux-de-Fonds from 1985 to 1990. In his final season with the Swiss club, Bridge served as the player-coach.
Bridge returned to North America to play in the Canadian Soccer League, first with the Victoria Vistas in 1990. In his final season before his professional retirement in 1991, Bridge competed for the Kitchener Kickers and the North York Rockets that same year. Throughout his professional career, Bridge appeared 33 times for the Canadian national team, scoring six goals. He played every game for Canada in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. Bridge was inducted into the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003.