After a historic run for RDC Kings Soccer this season, head coach Wade Groenewegen is stepping away from the team.
Groenewegen led the program to its first-ever appearance in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship this year and helped them earn silver at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association provincial championships.
Groenewegen, who was also Kings player from 1995-1997, took over the program in 2016 for his second stint as head coach.
“I’m definitely stepping away on good terms and I wish I could stay. It takes a lot. We invested a ton and I invested a ton. It’s really a full time, part-time job,” he said.
“I just couldn’t keep managing that at the moment. I still think we should be taking a step forward. I think we’ve got a fantastic group that I would work with for 10 years, if I didn’t have to do anything else.”
RDC Athletic Director, Diane St-Denis noted that Groenewegen was a key cog in growing the Kings program over his time.
“Wade’s leadership was the driving force behind our many successes during his time as coach and he will be missed,” she said.
Over the past four seasons, he guided the Kings to a 19-19-6 record. Last year, the Kings had a 7-3-2 mark. More than the wins and losses, Groenewegen said he’ll remember the players that made an impact on him.
Almost half a dozen players this season were former Red Deer Renegades, who he coached when they were eight and nine years old. Theo Gill, the Kings’ captain who missed significant time over the past two seasons, was one of Groenewegen’s first recruits.
“One bittersweet (memory), was Theo Gill. With me all four years and the last two seasons and really this last season, such bad luck,” Groenewegen said.
“He was still with us all the way. He and I really started all that out together. He was one of my first recruits and stayed all the way through. As good a King as I think there’s ever been.”
The Kings coach was also quick to compliment the Brazilian contingent of Pedro Humberto Mourao Neto, Gabriel Queiroz and Gabriel Fonseca, who sacrificed so much to be a part of the program for the last two years.
“Those guys have changed their lives in order to be here. The truth is, these are some young men who are trying to change their lives because things are not very good in Brazil,” Groenewegen said.
“Their families put everything on the line for these young guys to come here and they’ve battled language barriers, they’ve battled educational barriers and financial barriers. Just to see that those guys are coming around to the point where they’re really standing on their own two feet. They got to help us, but Kings soccer got to help them, too.”
St-Denis added that all three other assistant coaches Gerald Grobmeier, Steve Kelly and Elton Clemence are staying with the team.
Mahziar Peyrow, who served as an assistant under Groenewegen, will take over as interim head coach on Feb. 1.
“He understands the work that is needed to continue moving Kings Soccer forward, not only in the field of competition but in the classroom and in our community,” said St-Denis.