With successful coaching stints at the amateur, professional, and national team level, Craig Smith brings a wealth of experience with him to the UBC Okanagan women’s soccer program.
The reigning PACWEST coach of the year, Smith has been hired on an interim basis to replace Claire Paterson who is on extended leave.
“We are very pleased to have a coach of this calibre guide the program,” said Rob Johnson, UBCO’s Director of Athletics and Recreation.
Eager to take the reins, Smith will be on campus for training camp at the beginning of August.
“I would like to thank UBCO Athletics for this opportunity and I am really excited to get started as I believe there is huge potential within this program,” said Smith. “I would also like to thank everybody at Quest University and most of all the coaching staff and players who have given me incredible memories.”
Smith spent the past two seasons as head coach of the Quest University Kermodes, where he had an immediate impact, installing an offense that scored 27 goals in 15 games last year.
It earned Quest a national ranking and Smith the conference’s Coach of the Year award,
Smith has also worked with two national women’s soccer team programs, first with New Zealand in 2011, then as part of Team Canada’s build up to London Olympics 2012 that won the bronze medal.
Prior to his work with the national programs, Smith spent three seasons as head coach of the Ottawa Fury women’s team in the USL.
On the pitch, Craig played seven years as a professional in both Scotland and Australia. The past few years while in B.C., Smith has run or developed sessions for many of the top soccer clubs in the province, including Mountain United FC, Quest Soccer Academy, and Coastal United.
Smith has found a way to bring soccer to his other passion, working with children’s charities.
The new UBC Okanagan interim coach has volunteered for six-week to six-month stints in impoverished areas of Mexico and India.
This work is a big part of his life, and he has also spent time coaching the children of orphanages and tribal girls in eastern India.
In its third year of CIS competition this fall, the Heat women’s team will once again compete in the West Division of the Canada West conference. UBC Okanagan will open this season Saturday, Sept. 10 on the road with a match in Lethbridge, their first-ever against the Pronghorns.
The home opener for the Heat is the following Saturday, Sept. 17) versus UNBC.