The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) is proud to announce its 2018-19 participants for the sport of Women’s Soccer.
Holland Hurricanes, ACAA
Apprentice: Laura Younker
Mentor: Kristofer McKinnon
A five-year veteran of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA), Laura Younker will return to the Holland Hurricanes this fall as a female apprentice coach in the CCAA.
Younker suited up for the Hurricanes from 2012-15 and the MSVU Mystics from 2015-17. She was a team captain at Holland with the Women’s Soccer team for two seasons.
“Being a college and university grad and a past soccer player of the ACAA for five seasons, I believe I bring lots of experience and attributes to the student-athlete world,” she said.
Younker has also gathered valuable coaching experience along the way.
While attending Holland, Younker was as an assistant coach for the Hillsborough United Soccer Club with the U14 Premier Girls squad for two seasons. Her next coaching opportunity was last fall as an assistant with the PEI U18 Provincial Girls team.
“With both of these totally different coaching experiences, I believe that I will bring a very unique role to the coaching staff for the Hurricanes soccer program,” said Younker.
She will be mentored by Kristofer McKinnon, who has been involved with the soccer program at Holland since 2010.
“Kris has been a huge mentor in my life since coaching me – both on and off the field,” said Younker. “The amount of support and patience he has for his players is a big reason why I want to be a coach.”
Likewise, Younker aspires to create relationships with her players and provide them with an additional support system as they each grow to the best of their abilities.
As for McKinnon, he feels strongly about mentoring strong female role models to show them the options ad opportunities available as they continue through their journey in sports.
“A large part of my coaching career has been supporting female programs,” he said. “With a young daughter of my own, I understand the value of females having strong coaches and role models to help them positively shape their growth.”
Younker, who participated in two CCAA Women’s Soccer National Championships, will bring invaluable experience to the student-athletes at Holland College.
“I believe players at that age need a strong female role model to look up to who have been through the process,” she said.
Seneca Sting, OCAA
Apprentice: Sarah Donato
Mentor: Luca Sirianni
Sarah Donato was a member of the Women’s Soccer team at Seneca for five seasons – the last two as co-captain. Now, she is ready for a new challenge and would like to inspire other student-athletes through her passion of sport, fitness and coaching.
“I am so enthusiastic about the college experience,” said Donato, who also served as a member of the Varsity Council during her final year at Seneca. “I would love to aid these young girls in having the same or even better experience I had in my college career.”
Donato played a vital role in the program’s success, leading the Sting to Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) gold in 2014. That fall, Seneca earned a bronze medal at the CCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship in Medicine Hat, AB.
“She has a natural ability to see the whole game and wishes to now develop her coaching skills,” said Linda Stapleton, Director of Sport and Recreation at Seneca College. “Her leadership skills, knowledge and passion for the game give her the tools to become a great coach.”
Donato previously coached a U5 boys soccer team in Newmarket which gave her the chance to work with the fundamental learning stage. She then volunteered to train the U16 girls team in East Gwillimbury which gave her the comfort and ability of working with females and teenagers.
A full-time physiotherapy assistant, Donato treats injured athletes; she aids them with in-clinic modalities and develops and teaches home exercise programs to help clients return to play.
Donato is anxious to learn and develop her skill set as a coach.
“I believe I have a lot to offer from experience and skills I have attained as a student, athlete and a physiotherapist assistant,” she said. “I had an incredible experience with Seneca College, which shaped me to be the person I am today.”
Donato will be mentored by Luca Sirianni, a Seneca graduate himself.
Sirianni, who was a member of the Men’s Soccer varsity team, enters his fifth season as head coach of the Sting.
“Luca is an excellent teacher and communicator, bringing out the best in everyone,” said Stapleton. “He has all of the tools, experience and energy to be a very positive mentor coach.”
VIU Mariners, PACWEST
Apprentice: Zoe Grace
Mentor: Kevin Lindo
Zoe Grace proved to be a consummate team player during her time with the Women’s Soccer program at Vancouver Island University and the former Mariner will have full support from the institution as she begins her coaching career.
“After directly seeing the benefits of the Female Apprentice Coach Program, I know this will be beneficial to Zoe’s development as a young coach and will support the values of gender inclusion that I want to embody at VIU,” said Stephanie White, Director of High Performance Sport, Recreation and Physical Literacy at the University.
In her fifth and final year of eligibility last season, Grace exhibited her leadership with her willingness to step in and play goaltender for the Mariners. She led VIU to a Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) bronze medal in a position she had not played since high school.
Grace’s career with the Mariners included two provincial titles and a pair of appearances at CCAA Nationals. She excelled off the field as well, receiving the CCAA National Scholar Award in 2015-16.
Prior to attending VIU, Grace volunteered for two seasons as an assistant coach with her former high school soccer team. She’s also volunteered as an assistant coach on numerous youth teams in her hometown of Saskatoon, SK.
Grace is anxious to take advantage of an opportunity to get her foot in the door as a female apprentice in a sport she is passionate about.
“Growing up in the competitive soccer world, I had only a handful of female coaches,” she said. “I would love to be a part of the shift that sees more females stepping into head coaching positions and inspiring future generations of females.”
Grace will be mentored by Mariners head coach Kevin Lindo, who is also a Learner Facilitator for BC Soccer and the NCCP program as well as Athlete and Coach Services Coordinator for PacificSport Vancouver Island.
Lindo’s coaching philosophy includes a holistic approach which focuses on the technical, tactical, physical, and psychological/social all in a positive learning environment.
“I know that working closely with Coach Lindo will provide Zoe a solid foundation to develop her coaching career,” said White.
FACP Profiles Release Dates:
Wednesday, Sept. 12: CCAA Soccer
Wednesday, Sept. 19: CCAA Cross-Country Running
Wednesday, Sept. 26: CCAA Basketball
Wednesday, Oct. 3: CCAA Badminton
Wednesday, Oct. 10: CCAA Volleyball