VIU Mariners alumni from three different sports were champions in their playing days and have decided to stick around on the sidelines to share some of their experience.
Vancouver Island University announced recently that Andrea Cankovic, Emma Platner and Nicole Foglietta will remain at VIU as participants in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s national female apprentice coach program in 2020-21.
Cankovic is VIU’s most decorated athlete ever, winning national championships four out of her five seasons with the Mariners volleyball program. Platner played with the M’s basketball team and Foglietta played on the M’s soccer team.
Cankovic, a geoscience grad, has opted to focus on coaching before she pursues full-time work in her field of study. This fall she’s been working with the volleyball team four days a week and said “it’s a whole new world” seeing things from the coaching side and having responsibilities and leadership duties that she didn’t have, even as team captain in her final season.
She said by learning things “the hard way” for five years in a high-expectation program, she can help to give current players an advantage.
“I have a different mindset about what the girls need to develop their skills and hope to take them to their next level with a few shortcuts,” she said.
Platner, a physical education grad, is American and is hoping to obtain permanent residency in Canada and work toward a career in law enforcement. She is excited about the opportunity to stay involved in basketball after her graduation, the press release noted.
“Being an apprentice coach is growing a different kind of passion for the game for me,” Platner said. “I know I want to continue coaching throughout my entire life, whether it be full on coaching a team or as a skills specialist working with individual players or a group of players.”
Foglietta, also a phys ed grad, who works as a recreational therapist in a retirement home and still plays competitive soccer, says the apprenticeship program can help her toward personal trainer certification and is good experience coaching at the high-performance level.
“I believe females can be overlooked for jobs and opportunities in the sport industry and creating proactive solutions such as this apprenticeship program will help not only with development of female coaches, but also support both female and male athletes by having a variety of perspectives in the field,” she said in the release.
Kevin Lindo, coach of VIU’s women’s soccer team, said the apprentices this year are getting a unique coaching experience with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sporting landscape has changed due to COVID, adding to what is already a tough industry to navigate,” Lindo said in the release. “The apprenticeship program gives participants a development platform to build their coaching skills and valuable experiences within the community.”
The CCAA apprentice coach program has been in place for 15 years, according to the release, and this is the first time VIU has had three participants in the same school year.
“In a male-dominated industry, giving young females opportunities to practice leadership, build confidence and learn new skills lays the foundation for a future that they see themselves in, “ said Danielle Hyde, VIU’s interim athletic director. “As a former participant in this program, the skills I developed led me not only to opportunities in coaching, but also to a career in sports administration, which, as a female, can be an intimidating place to be.”