Assistant coach Sydney Van Der Merwe begins his third season on the Missouri State sideline in 2015, as the Bears look for big things with all 21 student-athletes returning from their 2014 roster.
Van Der Merwe made an immediate impact in his first year on the Bears field hockey sideline in 2013, as he helped improve Missouri State's defense and oversaw the development of two all-MAC selections and two Academic All-MAC picks. On the defensive side of the ball, Van Der Merwe helped the Bears reduce their number of goals allowed from 69 in 2012 to 51 in 2013. The Bears also placed senior Hillary Lawless and sophomore Charlie Redhead on the all-conference squad, while Redhead joined fellow sophomore Holly Scherer on the all-academic squad.
Van Der Merwe was announced as MSU's next assistant field hockey coach on July 16, 2013. A native of South Africa, he came to Missouri State after spending four years coaching field hockey at the high school level. He served as head coach of the Hathaway Brown School Blazers program in Shaker Heights, Ohio, from 2008-2012 and compiled a stellar 61-11-4 record during that time.
The Blazers earned four final four appearances, a state runner-up finish and a state title in his four seasons. He also earned Coach of the Year honors after leading his squad to a 16-2-1 season in 2010.
Prior to taking the head coach position at Hathaway Brown, Van Der Merwe compiled a wealth of athletic coaching and administrative experience. He was assistant field hockey coach from 2007-2008 at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.
From 2004-2007, Van Der Merwe served as high performance director and assistant athletics director at Krugersdrop High School in his native South Africa. Prior to that, he was a hockey coach with Hockey Wales, the governing body of the sport in Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Van Der Merwe started his coaching career from 2000-2002 as field hockey and cricket coach at St. Leonard's School in Brighton, Australia. In 2004, he graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University in Cardiff, Wales, with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in sport and physical education.