KELOWNA, BC – With success at coaching stints at the amateur, professional, and national team level, Craig Smith makes a great addition to the UBC Okanagan women’s soccer program. Smith has been hired 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, Director of Athletics & Recreation.
Eager to take the reins Smith will be on campus for training camp at the beginning of August.
“I would like to thank UBC O Athletics for this opportunity and I am really excited to get started as I believe there is huge potential within this program,” said Smith after accepting the position. “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,” he finished.
Smith spent the past two seasons as head coach of the Quest University Kermodes. Smith had an immediate impact at Quest, installing an offense that scored 27 goals in 15 games last year, earning Quest a national ranking and Smith the Conference Coach of the Year award,
With a UEFA B licence and a Canadian National B coaching licence and just recently completed part one of the Scottish UEFA A licence, Smith has also been a part of two national women’s soccer team programs. He was part of the New Zealand staff for their Cyprus Cup appearance in 2011, and he was involved in Team Canada’s build up for London Olympics 2012 that won the bronze medal.
Prior to his work with the national programs Smith spent three season as head coach of the Ottawa Fury women’s team in the USL, where his success and ability to identify talent brought him to the attention of the national program. Smith guided the Fury to a league title and the conference finals in each of his three seasons in Ottawa and in 2009/10, the Fury made the final four in North America. Smith was awarded the North American Coach of the Year in the Women’s USL following the 2009/10 season.
On the pitch Craig played seven years as a professional in both Scotland and Australia. Developmentally 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, September 10th, 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. The regular season ends in Kelowna on the Nonis Sports Field on Sunday, October 23rd. You can find the full schedule at goheat.ca.