Prior to the start of UBC Okanagan’s inaugural season of Canada West soccer this fall, Heat head coach Dante Zanatta added another title to his coaching portfolio.
In July, Zanatta earned his national ‘A’ coaching license—the highest coaching level attainable in Canada— through the governing body for soccer, the Canadian Soccer Association.
A rigorous and highly involved course, Dante started the ‘A’ license program two years ago with 24 candidates, and after putting in countless hours of work, he finished the two-year course on time with just three of his peers.
With his ‘A’ License, Zanatta now has the opportunity to work with the national team and indicates he would like to do so one day, but his immediate goal is to utilize his training locally with the UBC Okanagan Heat and Kelowna United.
“Anytime coaches can get educated and up to speed and updated on new trends, it only helps our program,” says Zanatta. “It will allow me to have opportunities with the national teams and their training, but right now it helps build UBC Heat into a program that can vie for national championships.
“It’s new information, it’s validating things that we are doing, and it’s making that level the standard.”
Referencing the recently completed World Cup as an example of how having highly trained coaches can influence a country’s soccer prowess, Dante explains: “Look at some of the stats, a country like Germany who have the UEFA ‘A’ license, has four or five times the numbers (top level coaches) of what England has and Germany is winning World Cups and the English aren’t.”
Meanwhile, Zanatta and the Heat men’s soccer team begin their Canada West journey on the road with two games against another former member of the CCAA in the UNBC Timberwolves on Sept. 6 and 7 in Prince George. The first taste of Canada West action on the Nonis Turf in Kelowna will see the Heat host conference action on Friday, September 12 against the Fraser Valley Cascades.