Heat have yet to lose under their new interim coach, as their Conference season is set to kick off this Saturday in Lethbridge.
~ Courtesy of Grayson Leahy // The Phoenix News
KELOWNA, BC — Through their four matches of preseason competition, the UBC Okanagan women’s soccer team did not lose. With two wins and two draws on the season so far, the Heat will look to remain undefeated when their regular Canada West conference season kicks off in Lethbridge on Saturday, September 10.
The Heat started their August with a 4-1 victory over Mount Royal on Monday, August 15, before playing to a 1-1 draw in their second match against the Cougars the following day. The UBCO side finished with their second draw in their first match at home, a 2-2 result against Grand Prairie at Nonis Field on Saturday, August 27. They finished their preseason off with another victory the next day, this time with a 4-2 victory over visiting Douglas.
This strong start to the 2016 Heat season is all the more impressive when you consider that they are playing under a new coach. As head coach Claire Paterson is on extended leave, UBC Okanagan have named Craig Smith as interim head coach for the women’s side.
“I am really excited to get started,” said Smith in an interview ahead of his arrival for training camp at the beginning of August. “I believe there is huge potential within this program.”
Smith is currently the reigning PACWEST Coach of the Year, an award he earned in his second season as head coach of the Quest University women’s team. He also brings with him international playing and coaching experience. Smith played professionally for seven years in Scotland and Australia, before becoming a coach. Prior to joining the Heat, Smith coached in the USL with the Ottawa Fury women’s team and with both the New Zealand and Canadian national teams, on top of creating a system at Quest that put up 27 goals in 15 matches last season.
Smith’s experience, and the impressive pre-season that the Heat have put together under him, set the stage for what could be an exceptional third season in Canada West for the UBCO women.