Alisha Coules finds herself in a bit of a different role with the RDP Queens soccer team this season, but she’s comfortable in whatever role she plays.
During her first two seasons with the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference squad, she was counted on to provide a good deal of the offence.
In her rookie season she scored three times and added an assist in eight games while the 2019-20 season saw her lead the team with nine goals and three helpers in 12 games.
This year she has one assist in two starts.
“Bit of a slow start, but we changed our formati0n where we utilize all the players in more of a scoring role. We have an amazing team where they all can finish so my role is different.”
“She does have some help this year,” said Queens head coach Mahziar Peyrow. “She’s receptive in whatever role we put her in. She knows how to elevate the play of the others.
“She’s competitive as a striker and she’s willing to change where she holds the ball longer to create space and opportunities. She’s willing to support her teammates and create chances for them.”
Coules is team captain, something she takes pride in.
“You don’t need to be the most skilled to be captain, but I look at myself as a leader on and off the field,” the 25-year-old from Stettler stressed. “On the field I show up on time and give it my all … push myself to the limits. It doesn’t matter if I’m with girls seven or eight years younger than myself, I try to keep pace.
“Off the field I try to show a strong work ethic and commitment to school, work and family and friends. I look at myself as a leader by example.”
She admits this year is a bit different after missing all of last season because of the ongoing COVID pandemic.
“It does play a significant role for sure. We tried our best to get on the field when we could and train in the Dome in the winter … get as many touches as we could and to keep our strength and conditioning up. But it was different for sure. Without it being organized it was on yourself to push yourself and be dedicated.”
Alisha got into the sport in Grade 4 and played all her club soccer in Red Deer.
“I didn’t really care about soccer that much but started doing what my friends were doing,” she explained. “Right away they told me I should play club and so I started travelling to Red Deer and stuck with it.”
She played club in Red Deer through Grade 12, then took four years off, living “down east” and training to be a flight attendant.
“I didn’t get to fly, in fact I was offered my first job when I was contacted by the former RDC coach and decided to come back here,” she said.
When she was younger she worked in health care so when she returned to Red Deer she applied to get into nursing.
“When I got the call I thought I might as well come back, get into nursing, finish my degree and play soccer as I had success with it before.”
Coules works as a health care aide but not in the COVID unit.
“One of my teammates is,” she said. “I haven’t been called in to do that yet, but I try to do what I can to keep everyone safe and help out on the floor as we are shorthanded.”
All members of the Queens have been vaccinated. In fact all teams that have national championships must be vaccinated.
“Still when we’re off the field we do what’s appropriate and watch what we’re doing and be in small groups. We can’t afford to get sick as it’s a short season and every game counts.”
The soccer season has been cut to six games from 12 this season. The Queens are 1-1 after losing 4-0 to Lethbridge and beating Olds 5-0.
The top six teams do make the playoffs with the top two receiving a first round bye.
RDP hosts Ambrose Friday with the women kicking off at 3 p.m. They visit Augustana on Saturday and finish their home schedule Aug. 8 against SAIT. They travel to Medicine Hat Aug. 10.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at email@example.com