Kayla Blacquiere, an assistant coach with the Kodiaks soccer program, is part of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Female Apprentice Coach Program this year, which has been designed to increase access for young women to coach at a post-secondary level, provide high quality coaching mentorship and support professional development. She is the first coach from the Kodiaks to take part in the program.
“I am thrilled about this program because I strongly believe in the inclusion of women in sports,” Blacquiere says. “This opportunity allows me to advance my coaching career in soccer and serve as a role model for both young girls and boys. I embrace the significance of representation. I excel at my job and take pride in proving that I can perform just as competently, if not better, than anyone else.”
Blacquiere has a rich background in soccer as she grew up in Lacombe, Alta. and played in high school and for a year at Red Deer Polytechnic, where she was named to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) all-conference team and recognized as Rookie of the Year. In 2014, she transferred to the University of Lethbridge to continue her soccer career in U-Sports, playing through 2018. In 2021-22, Blacquiere worked as the assistant coach for the University of Lethbridge women’s soccer team and then joined the Kodiaks coaching staff.
“I can’t wait to see where she’s going to end up,” says Lethbridge College Kodiaks soccer head coach Sean Carey. “Honestly, she’s got the makings of going very high in coaching. She’s very confident on the field, she knows what she wants from the players, and she knows how to talk to them.”
Blacquiere’s goals for the program are to gain coaching experience in the ACAC and CCAA by continuously improving her understanding of soccer, enhancing coaching skills, building a professional network, positively affecting studentathletes’ development and making a lasting impact on the soccer community.
Going for the gold
Former Kodiaks volleyball player and coach Michael Hawkins, who now is the head men’s volleyball coach for the University of British Columbia and a coach for Team Canada, will be headed to Paris as a coach for the Olympics in 2024. When asked about the value of sport throughout life, he said: “Whether it be qualifying for the Olympic Games, backyard soccer with your friends or organized recreational events, sport and play are so pivotal in our lives. The social, emotional, mental and physical benefits of play can be seen at all ages and levels of sport.” The Lethbridge College community will be cheering on the athletes – and their coaches – next year!