Female Apprentice Coach Program: Volleyball

Female Apprentice Coach Program: Volleyball

The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) is proud to announce its 2019-20 participants in the annual Female Apprentice Coach Program (FACP) for the sport of Volleyball.

Ambrose Lions, ACAC

Apprentice: MacKenzie Schmidt
Mentor: Colin Kubinec

After suffering with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury the past couple of seasons, MacKenzie Schmidt has now accepted that her contribution on the court as a Women’s Volleyball player for the Ambrose Lions has come to an end.

Despite multiple attempts at rehabilitation, Schmidt will not be able to compete as an athlete in her final year at Ambrose University.

She is excited however to contribute in a new way, as an apprentice in the FACP. This season, Schmidt will be mentored by Colin Kubinec, who coached her the past four seasons at Ambrose.

“It is time to contribute in a new way,” said Schmidt. “I am excited to experience this game at a new level as an apprentice coach this year.”

Kubinec, who also serves as Ambrose’s Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation, named Schmidt as one of his captains the last two seasons and believes she is a top-notch leader.

He is excited to see her transition into an official coaching role.

“As MacKenzie has been on the bench a lot in the last two years due to her injury, she has already naturally begun to see the game from a coach’s perspective,” said Kubinec.

Schmidt is extremely intelligent, a good communicator and cares deeply about the student-athletes on the volleyball team at Ambrose. Kubinec now looks forward to seeing Schmidt grow in teaching the technical aspects of the game.

“MacKenzie has great team insights, is a keen learner, and I already have such confidence and enjoyment in working with her,” said Kubinec.

Schmidt has been involved with the Athletic Leadership team at Ambrose, has helped organize team service projects and has coached at summer camps.

She is highly respected by her peers and is an admirable young woman with a bright future, according to Kubinec.

“MacKenzie will have positive influence in whatever domain she finds herself in and to have her interested in investing in coaching is very exciting for us here at Ambrose,” said Kubinec.

As an apprentice, Schmidt will get the opportunity to build on her relationships with the younger student-athletes in a more formal role of mentorship.

“I have been on the receiving end of this mentorship from other female alumni coaches in the past and I know how valuable it is,” said Schmidt.

Centennial Colts, OCAA

Apprentice: Emily Joe
Mentor: Adriana Bento

Throughout her playing career, Emily Joe grew accustomed to the demands of a varsity student-athlete. Now, the former member of the Centennial Colts Women’s Volleyball team will get the opportunity to share her experiences with other players.

Joe will be mentored as an apprentice in the FACP by her former Head Coach, Adriana Bento, who encourages excellence on and off the court.

In three seasons with the Colts, Joe certainly excelled on the volleyball court and in the classroom. She earned Most Improved Player and Most Valuable Player honours as well as an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) academic award.

“With over 10 years of student-athlete experience I have grown and embodied the student-athlete model and would like to share my knowledge in all aspects of life with the next group of student-athletes,” she said.

Joe has also been accumulating coaching experience since she was 16, when she first had an opportunity to coach young athletes. She was quickly drawn to seeing first-hand the improvement and development of athletes.

At Centennial, she gained more experience with Colts summer kids camp, where she created daily lesson plans for athletes of varying skills and abilities. And most recently, Joe took a position as an assistant coach for a 12U girls team, where she got to experience the development of athletes over a much longer period of time.

“Each coaching experience has left me searching for more coaching opportunities, because the success of athletes is something I am excited about,” said Joe.

Bento, with her leadership and coaching abilities, has been preparing Joe for this role since her arrival at Centennial in 2018.

“Emily will be a tremendous value with her dedication and hard work to the team,” said Bento, who previously coached at the University of Toronto and worked with the Canadian National Beach Volleyball team.

“She will work closely with me to understand the dynamic of coach and athlete, and to help us to define a better mutual vision and goal.”

Lynx d’Édouard-Montpetit, RSEQ

Apprentice: Josiane Aubuchon
Mentor: Louis-Michel Bergeron

Former Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) All-Star Josiane Aubuchon has a strong desire to develop as a coach. Aubuchon’s path takes her to Cégep Édouard-Montpetit this season as an apprentice in the FACP.

She will be mentored by Louis-Michel Bergeron, who coached Aubuchon during one of her three seasons with the Women’s Volleyball program at Cégep André-Laurendeau.

“From the start, she showed a strong desire to teach her passion to her teammates, a trait that followed her throughout university,” said Bergeron of Aubuchon, who went on to play at the Université du Quebec à Montréal (U Sports) for five seasons.

Last season, Aubuchon worked with the Noir et Or cadet and junior programs at Demortagne High School in Boucherville, QB.

She felt right at home in her new role.

“This experience strengthened my desire to be involved in training competitive athletes,” said Aubuchon. “Despite the large scale of the program, I was able to bring my work as both a student-athlete and an assistant coach to bear on a job that truly captured my imagination.”

From a technical standpoint, Aubuchon hopes to pass along her strong knowledge of the reception and defensive sides of the game to the Lynx and she believes she can have a positive impact.

She’ll work closely with Bergeron, who is entering his fourth season with Édouard-Montpetit after three years with the Boomerang at André-Laurendeau. He is no stranger to the FACP, having mentored Cynthia Perpall with the Lynx in 2016-17.

Bergeron is excited to support Aubuchon in a coaching role and mentor her to the best of his ability. A major part of his job, he acknowledges, is to transmit values through teaching volleyball.

“It’s a privilege to be able to do so with the best collegiate athletes, but it’s even more rewarding to be able to do it with the future coaches who go through our program,” he said.

For her part, Aubuchon is excited to join a flourishing program at Édouard-Montpetit and views this apprenticeship as an invaluable opportunity for her development as a future coach in the region.

“I plan to coach for several years and to use the experiences and skills I acquire to become a qualified coach,” said Aubuchon. “The FACP is a golden opportunity for me to acquire skills and stand out at a CEGEP level.”

Lakeland Rustlers, ACAC

Apprentice: Rae Sigurdson
Mentor: Austin Dyer

Rae Sigurdson’s five-year collegiate career came to an end last spring in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC). But the two-time CCAA All-Canadian will return to the Lakeland Rustlers this season, as an apprentice in the FACP. 

Sigurdson will be mentored by her former Head Coach, Austin Dyer.

“Rae has gained knowledge and leadership skills throughout her playing career that I believe will transfer over to the younger players on our team,” said Dyer. “She has an extreme passion for the game and this passion is exactly what a college program needs for players to look up to.”

As her career as a setter evolved and she became one of the older players on the roster, Sigurdson naturally fell into a leadership role at Lakeland.

Throughout that time, she also gained valuable coaching experience with the Rustlers Volleyball Club. In addition to being involved with many volleyball camps throughout the season and during the summer, Sigurdson worked with the 15U girls team as a coach in 2017 and an assistant in 2018. Last season, she was an assistant coach with the 18U girls squad.

“I have always enjoyed coaching and watching young athletes fall in love with the same game that I did,” said Sigurdson. “I would like to expand my coaching knowledge and experience with a group I am comfortable with and under a coaching staff I trust.”

Sigurdson did more than just contribute on the volleyball court during her time with the Rustlers Women’s Volleyball program according to Alan Rogan, Director of Athletics at the Lakeland College.

“She was consistently one of our top student-athletes academically, as well as a leader on the floor and in the community,” he said. “The numerous institutional, provincial and national awards are evidence of her accomplishments.”

As an apprentice coach at Lakeland, Sigurdson will get the opportunity to instill those qualities that enabled her to accomplish so much as a student-athlete herself.

And the collaboration could very well extend past the 2019-20 season.

“We are always looking for opportunities to work with, and hopefully retain, quality young females who possess the potential to be strong coaches and role models for future student-athletes,” said Rogan.

The King’s Eagles, ACAC

Apprentice: Mallory Turner
Mentor: Grace Scott

Mallory Turner has built an impressive resume of playing and coaching experiences in recent years. The former University of The King’s student-athlete will return to the Eagles this fall as an apprentice in the FACP.

Turner will be mentored by her former Head Coach, Grace Scott.

“I am looking forward to working with Grace as I know that this is an excellent opportunity for me to grow as a coach and a leader,” said Turner.

In addition to suiting up for two seasons with the Women’s Volleyball squad at The King’s, Turner has rowed competitively, racing provincially, nationally and internationally.

For the last seven years, she has worked as an assistant coach with U16-U18 club volleyball teams. Turner has also coached youth rowing and was an assistant coach for Team Alberta at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games.

“Mallory’s experience as an athlete in both the areas of volleyball and rowing will be an asset to our team in that she has an excellent understanding of what it takes to train hard individually as well as what it takes to be successful in a team environment,” said Scott, who also serves as the Director of Athletics at The King’s.

Scott appreciates Turner’s passion for the game, desire to learn and intrinsic drive to work hard every day. She is confident in her former student-athlete’s ability to connect with her current players.

“Mallory is not only someone I trust implicitly, but she has also proven to have a tremendous rapport with people and is very approachable,” said Scott. “Her ability to balance having fun and pursuing excellence will serve to challenge our athletes in a positive way as they strive to perform their best for one another.”

Turner admits she has been challenged as a coach which has strengthened her communication, team management and conflict resolution skills. She is excited to bring forward the knowledge and skills gained through being a high-level athlete and years of coaching experience.

“Coaching is a very important part of my life and I plan to keep on advancing my coaching ability year after year and potentially coach at the college that I gain employment at in the future,” said Turner.

Scott, the 2019 CCAA Women’s Volleyball Coach of the Year, is entering her 12th season as bench boss at The King’s. She is quite familiar with the CCAA’s FACP, having mentored several apprentices in the past, and is always amazed at how much she herself continues to learn with each experience.

“I appreciate the support given by the FACP to encourage young female coaches to pursue coaching at a higher level and receive mentoring and professional development,” she said.

FACP Announcements

CCAA Soccer Apprentices: Sept. 12