Sports

UBC Okanagan womens soccer coach gets Western Canadian coaching nod

Heat coach Claire Paterson will travel to France this summer to coach a Western Canadian youth soccer team. - Contributed
Heat coach Claire Paterson will travel to France this summer to coach a Western Canadian youth soccer team.
— image credit: Contributed

UBC Okanagan women’s soccer head coach Claire Paterson will serve as the head coach of the Western Canadian squad for the Danone Nations Cup this summer.

The Danone Nations Cup is an international football (soccer) tournament for kids created after the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, and is the biggest youth soccer tournament in the world. It is also the most accessible soccer event in the world as it is completely free.

From humble beginnings in 2000 with eight teams from two continents participating, and now boasting more than 2.5 million children from around the world, the Danone Nations Cup will culminate with an international final that is held each year in a different country.

Last year in Madrid, the Canadian squad finished with its highest ranking in its 12 years of participating at the international event as the young soccer players aged 10-12 finished sixth among 39 of the world’s greatest soccer nations.

Claire will coach the Western Canadian team and will play the Eastern Canadian squad in a match to determine which one will represent Canada at the 2012 Danone Cup in September in Warsaw, Poland.

When Paterson was asked by Canadian Team Coach Dean Howie to steer the Western Canadian team, she somehow was able to fit it into her schedule between the Okanagan FC PCSL squad, summer camps at UBC’s Okanagan campus, NOYSA programming and Whitecaps Summer Soccer Camps, as well as preparations for the upcoming season of the Heat.

In spite of Paterson’s busy schedule she accepted the position and looks forward to building a team to battle the world with.

“I’m really honored that Dean asked me to be involved in this very special opportunity for young athletes. It is a great program and I am excited to be involved in it,” says Paterson. “It will be a busy summer with a couple of extra trips away from home, but the experience of coaching young players and preparing them for the international stage will more than make up for my time.”

Paterson's record made her a worthy choice to lead the Western squad. Her Heat team has won two straight provincial medals, and she has compiled a 35 wins, 20 losses and nine ties record in her four seasons with UBC Okanagan. Her past two seasons are nearly perfect with a regular season record of 18 wins, one loss, and four ties.

The team will be selected in April at camps in Calgary and Burnaby, and then a camp in July in Toronto that will culminate in a final match between the Eastern and Western squad to decide who will represent Canada this September.

The team is comprised of girls and boys with the B.C. tryout camp by invitation April 22, at the Burnaby Lakes Park from 12 to 3 p.m

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