In his eighth season as head coach of the UFV women’s soccer team, Rob Giesbrecht continues to captain the ship and steer the team as they gear up for the playoffs.
“My parents signed me up when I was a young boy, and yeah, nothing more than that; just playing on the school yard at recess and lunch and then playing on a local community team — your typical soccer start.”
Being a spectator is a much different position than being a coach, but Giesbrecht also enjoys the game from a fan’s perspective. “As a spectator, I love the fact that it’s nonstop. I mean, there’s always things going on; even if it’s a zero-to-zero game there’s a lot of different things you can see and you appreciate the athletes, the physical demands they have to meet. I find it quite fun to be involved in the sport.”
As time went on, Giesbrecht would make the transition from playing to coaching, an experience he enjoyed.
“It was fun. I finished my eligibility when I was playing at Trinity and then I had another semester left to finish my degree and I was kind of brought on as an assistant coach. I was on a coaching staff of a team that a lot of my friends were on, so that was definitely a challenge. After that I moved into coaching women and it was a good fit.”
After being an assistant coach at TWU until 2005, coach Giesbrecht took a head coaching job at Concordia University in Nebraska, U.S.A. He would lead the team for five years from 2005–2010 while continuing his education, but as time went on, a combination of life events and timing brought him back to coach in his hometown.
“During that time we had, our family expanded. Our three boys were born down there, and we wanted to come home. The coach that was here, he got a job with the Whitecaps, and the job opened up, so I applied. It was actually the second time I had interviewed for the job because I had interviewed two years earlier and was unsuccessful, but the second time I interviewed I got it and moved home and it’s been great.”
With any coaching staff of a sports team there are certain things each coach will look for in players, and for coach Giesbrecht, strong and positive character is important. Add athleticism and a desire to excel, and that rounds out the qualities and characteristics that Giesbrecht looks for in players from a coaching perspective.
Speaking on the team this season, the coach was optimistic on their caliber as a team. “We’re definitely young, but really exciting. I’m really proud of them for how much they’ve progressed throughout our season, and the soccer season’s a challenge cause it’s so short and it starts so early in a first-year student’s university journey. They start training with us a month before they even start classes.”
The coach also noted that the team has relied on their first-year players who have done “great” and even their second-year players have made big improvements. All very promising things to hear from veteran coach Giesbrecht who now looks to have them ready to take on the Mount Royal Cougars in their first playoff game of the year.
Image: UFV Cascades