Things will look much different for RDC on the soccer sidelines next season.
After the head coaches from both the Kings and Queens soccer program relinquished their roles earlier this year, the Athletic Department has decided to take a whole new approach.
Instead of the prototypical head coach, the Kings and Queens will be coached by committee, with Mahziar Peyrow as the GM/head coach of the entire soccer program, sharing the head coaching duties with Gerald Grobmeier.
“They’re working together, so it’s basically two individuals the work that we were placing on the shoulders of a head coach in the past,” said RDC Athletic Director Diane St-Denis, who added both coaches have been a part of the RDC soccer family before.
“It’s also an opportunity for the program to work collaboratively on strengthening both. Where there’s learning on one side, there can be learning on the other. Understanding that the game is slightly different for men and women.”
The Kings went to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Soccer Championships last year for the first time in school history and also won silver at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association provincial championship. The Queens finished with a 4-8 record last year and missed the playoffs.
The idea for the new structure comes through feedback from past coaches about the workload that an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference soccer coach takes on, as well as other programs that are also using the model. From the logistics and administrative duties, along other off the field activities to building team chemistry and nailing down tactics with the team, there is a lot asked of an ACAC head coach.
Lethbridge College, whose men’s and women’s soccer teams combined for a 17-2-5 record last year, use a co-coaching system. Niels Slotboom also coaches both the Olds College Broncos women’s and men’s soccer teams. In short, the new model deployed by RDC is becoming more common for college soccer programs.
“We had the opportunity to look at best practices because we did steal some ideas from other programs. You look at those who are successful, you take the good pieces and we said, this can work for us. we decided now is a good time to do it,” St-Denis said.
In addition to Peyrow and Grobmeier, Stephen Kelly will serve as an assistant coach for the Kings and Jessie Stewart will assist on the Queens’ side. With all those coaches who have experience at the ACAC level, Peyrow, who was previously an assistant coach with the Kings, believes they’ll be more cohesive in their instruction and direction as a program.
“I’m pretty excited… the structure that we set forth is what we had already been implementing with the Kings for us, to push it over to both is a no brainer and to make,” he said.
“From a soccer standpoint, it’s more of a professional structure… the positive is it gives everyone a role to focus on. For me, as the GM, I look at it as the macro. Then there’s the micro. As the macro, I take care of a lot of off the field coaching… that allows Gerald to deal with the micro. The tactical and formations.”
St-Denis added they will also have shared assistant coaches, who will focus on the specifics to help improve the development of each athlete.
“They’re bringing in specific, finite tools and so they will be in and out of practices,” she added.
The schedule for the 2020-21 ACAC soccer season, which usually begins in September, is still being worked on by the ACAC and CCAA and a decision is expected later this summer.