Wesleyan’s Olivier signs with Milligan

Jun. 07, 2013 @ 10:28 PM

While growing up in South Africa, Bruce Olivier dreamed of living in another country and playing soccer.

Olivier, a senior at Wesleyan Christian Academy, is making that dream a reality, as he has signed with NAIA Division II school Milligan College to continue his soccer career at the next level.

“It’s completely better than I imagined,” says Olivier, the son of Michael and Rita of Johannesburg, South Africa. “I didn’t know anything about the different successes in United States soccer.

“It’s just a personal goal for me, coming to a new country to play and making a success of it. There’s nothing better I can imagine. And getting to play for Wesleyan and the kids I played with, that’s just the cherry on top.”

Growing up in South Africa, Olivier was surrounded by family and friends who were passionate about their soccer. He began playing when he was 5 years old and quickly developed into an outstanding player.

Playing for former U.S. national player Desmond Armstrong’s Heroes Academy, he played for a couple weeks in the U.S. in 2007 with former U.S. national and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel’s academy.

In 2011, he returned to train with Armstrong and his team, and Armstrong advised him to move to the U.S. to play high school and college soccer. Olivier decided to leave South Africa to move to the U.S., ending up in High Point at Wesleyan.

“I wasn’t scared or anxious,” he says. “I was calm and excited, and I knew it was going to be good. I didn’t really know anything about the school or where I was coming to. But God just really guided a path for me and opened all the right doors and just made it a great success for me.

“Leaving my family at 17 years old was obviously quite a big step to take. So, there were the doubts — What if I miss home after six months? What if I want to go back? My parents were a great foundation for me, stood behind me, and my host family was a godsend.”

With the Trojans, he played a key role in their system, helping maintain the forward pressure from the center-back position. As a senior, he was named all-conference, all-region and all-state in helping lead Wesleyan to a 25-0 record, a No. 3 national ranking and its second straight NCISAA 3A title.

“He was willing to do the things we asked of him, in terms of servant leadership — which is challenging for a player of his caliber,” says coach Scott Reitnour, who named Olivier a team captain for the season. “But he was willing to do that.

“I think that laid a good foundation and set a good example for the rest of the guys. And, as a player, he was instrumental in our success, as a two-year starting center-back. His size and his technical proficiency really helped keep the ball out of the back of the net.”

In narrowing his college choices, Olivier weighed his options between a number of NCAA Division I and II schools. But he ultimately chose Milligan, which has won three of the last four regular-season conference titles and is where five former Wesleyan players currently play.

“In the end, everything just came down to Milligan, and it fell right into place. It felt right,” says Olivier, who wants to major in sports management and minor in marketing. “Everything just felt really fitting for me. It’s a smaller school. That’s where I wanted to be, and it just felt right.”