A treble of firsts for women’s soccer team

women's soccer team

A group photo of the Pacific Region Women’s Soccer team from Esquimalt who won the Championship for the Women’s Soccer Nationals hosted by CFB Borden, Ontario.

Peter Mallet, Staff Writer – 2015 was a year of firsts for the Pacific Region Women’s Soccer team.

They won their first Canadian Armed Forces National Championship trophy, and collected their first-ever award at the annual sports awards luncheon in Esquimalt, where they were crowned Breakthrough Team of the Year.
But the real kicker is they couldn’t have achieved it without the guidance of first-time, rookie coach Sgt Caleb Klimas.

“We were complete underdogs heading into the national tournament,” says Sgt Klimas, a medical technician at the base clinic in CFB Esquimalt. “We lost our first two games but just kept getting stronger every game after that point, and then won four games in a row.”

The Pacific Region team hoisted the Nichola Goddard Trophy at CFB Borden on Sept. 13 after defeating Quebec 2-1 on penalty kicks.

Midfielder Lt(N) Tien Nguyen represented the Pacific Region’s team at the tournament for the third time, and said the victory over Quebec “came as a complete surprise” to her and her teammates. It’s always been an uphill battle for the Pacific team because of the constant deployments, she says, and sailings at the base coupled with a smaller pool of players to draw from makes it difficult to field a competitive team.

“Sgt Klimas was a communicator, a motivator, but also had an easy-going and relaxed style of coaching that was a perfect fit for this team,” says Lt(N) Nguyen, a combat systems engineering officer with HCM West.

Sgt Klimas played youth soccer on the lower mainland in Surrey and served as a defender for Kwantlen Polytechnic Institute soccer team. But he admits it really wasn’t his experience as a player where he gained true insight into successful coaching techniques.

He credits his step-father Derek Possee, who played forward for the 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl Champion Vancouver Whitecaps and Tottenham Hotspur (1963 to 1967), and Crystal Palace (1973 to 1974) of the English Premier League (then First Division), for developing his skills as a coach.

After his playing days were over, Possee eventually became head coach for Canada’s youth development teams between 2001 and 2003, and was also the B.C. Soccer Association’s head coach for five years.

Sgt Klimas used to help out as an equipment manager and trainer with some of Possee’s provincial teams and admits the experience was “invaluable” to him.

“I watched how he did things and how he had a calm steadying effect, and I tried to carry this over when I started coaching,” said Sgt Klimas.

As they look ahead to what 2016 brings, Sgt Klimas is confident the team can repeat as champions and he hopes to continue his role behind the bench for Pacific Region if work commitments allow.

Filed Under: Top Stories


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.