The soccer program at G.W. Graham is about to get a big boost through a new partnership with Chilliwack FC.
CFC is going to be directly connected to the school’s sport-specific soccer program, which has exploded in popularity in recent times. GWG teachers Colleen Folka and Mark Ramalho will spend two days a week focusing on things like refereeing, coaching, nutrition and sports psychology. Students will be on the field the other three days of the week, guided by a CFC coach.
“Our student athletes in soccer will have an awesome opportunity to get the very best training,” said G.W. Graham athletic director Jake Mouritzen. “They’ll be able to focus on what they need as individual athletes to follow their passion, and they’ll still get all the other pieces that come with our sport-specific programming.
“We are super excited to launch this new programming in September.”
With Shane Mummery in house, the soccer scene at GWG has seen steady growth the last few years. But Mummery left over spring break to pursue a new teaching opportunity in the Kootenays, leaving the school with huge shoes to fill.
Mouritzen reached out to Glenn Wilson, the technical director/head coach for Chilliwack FC, hoping to strike up a partnership similar to the one GWG has between it’s baseball program and Chilliwack Minor Baseball.
“Glenn let us know Chillliwack FC was very interested in a partnership,” he said. “Two weeks ago we met with Glenn and also Megan Tagle, who is going to be a part of the project. They are super excited.”
In addition to working with GWG’s soccer-specific class, Wilson and Tagle will help teacher-coach Sandra Bergeron with the varsity girls team in the spring.
“They’ll transition from individual skills in the first semester to more team concepts and preparing for an intense short season season in the spring,” Mouritzen said.
GW Graham’s sports-specific programming continues to grow overall.
Last year the school had three (classes) for basketball, one for soccer, one for rugby, one for football and one for volleyball. Next year Mouritzen expects to have five for basketball, two for soccer, one for rugby, two for football and three for volleyball.
“Kids now have the chance to do what they love to do in a school setting, and that creates student success,” Mouritzen said. “I also can’t stress enough how important it is today for schools to connect with their communities, and I think the more partnerships like this that we build, the stronger we are.”
As a fun aside, Megan Tagle will have a chance to coach against her father, Richard Tagle, a longtime coach with the Sardis secondary girls’ team.
“We definitely had some chuckles and excitement about that, and I know Megan is super excited to be across the pitch from her dad,” Mouritzen said. “They both do so much for soccer with Chilliwack FC, and Richard and Shaun Calver have done so much for soccer at Sardis. There’s lots of excitement about the first Falcons/Grizzlies clash, and while we have all the respect in the world for Richard’s efforts, there will be an opportunity to jab him a little when his daughter gets that first win over him.”