The Kodiak womens soccer team has two new faces infusing a positive influence.
New head coach, Sean Carey began coaching in England when he was younger and did that for two years. Carey moved to Canada nine years ago and has been coaching girls teams for seven of those nine years.
After moving to Camrose, Carey approached the president of their soccer association and made it known that he’d like to get involved in coaching again.
It was a bit late for getting started as a coach in the league, but was told the only option available was the U-14 girls team. Carey remained loyal to that group of girls, coaching them for the next five years, watching them grow as players until some graduated two years ago, and the rest in April of this year.
Carey decided to reward the girls for all their hard work and so they made the trip to Mexico for a soccer tournament. Coaching girls is something Carey really enjoys. “They are more coachable as they absorb everything you say, and they’re willing to work a bit harder for you”, says Carey.
Carey will be heading to Vancouver in November to attend a leadership conference with his apprentice, Samantha Cole.
“I spoke to Mark Kosak about giving chances to players who had been through the program.”
Cole is part of a female coaching apprenticeship program put on by the P.C.W.A. This year, just 19 coaches were selected from across Canada.
Cole began coaching young kids when she was 14, and besides coaching the Kodiaks womens team, she is in charge of the Under-16 girls squad at Lethbridge Football Club.
Cole is from a small town which forded her the opportunity to coach the game from the U-12 to a U-18 boys team in her final year, and is excited to help the Kodiaks.
“This has been a huge opportunity for me because everyone has shown a vote of confidence in me, says Cole. I love to play, but I always got so much more out of coaching than I ever did playing.”
“It’s very rewarding to teaching someone a new skill and for them to go out there and do it.”
Carey employs a relaxed and positive style with special attention to strategic planning.
“We saw what Medicine Hat did in the game a week before and put in place a plan to stop their game and execute our game”, says Carey.
Carey lives in Vulcan and drives to Lethbridge nearly every day to coach the Kodiaks squad.
“When the girls walked off the field last Saturday after their first win, it was like winning provincials. Even though they had only won a game, seeing the joy on their faces, seeing all that hard work pay off. The system we put in place is new to a lot of the girls, so for them to get rewarded for that, was a fantastic feeling”, says Carey.
The Kodiaks have five returning players and 11 rookies while two of those players were a part of Carey’s previous tenure as coach of the girls team in Camrose.
“We’re building that skill level up and I truly believe we’re going to be competitive in this division.”
Carey says one of the more difficult aspects of coaching is that you can’t take an off-day. “You’ve gotta get your team up, and have them ready for the games.”
“The one thing I find really invaluable about Sam(Cole), is that she has the experience in the league. We have a few players with different weapons such as free kicks and long throws. Sam is aware of these situations and calls a lot of plays from the bench for us”, says Carey.
“Sam also does a lot of the things from the fitness and agility side of things.