The idiom "to eat, sleep and breathe (something)" is used when someone is incredibly enthusiastic about something, focusing all of their energy on that one thing. To say that Mini Coach Samantha LeBlanc has a passion for soccer would be a bit of an understatement.....
When she's not practicing, Samantha is playing. Studying team stats, going over plays, even sprinting across the pitch in her fancy grad dress.....Sam has gone one step further and added coaching soccer for Storm into her weekly schedule!
When asked why she wanted to coach for Storm, Sam replied enthusiastically. "I wanted to be more involved with the Club, give back to the kids and teach them the fundamentals of the game. To help them fall in love with the game I fell in love with at their age!" Coach Sam is lucky to have another coaching mentor in the family, her uncle, Storm coach Stuart "Coach Pickle" Thompson, who has taken Sam under his wing at most of his U10B Boys games this past season.
Samantha has completed her Making Ethical Decisions (MED) workshop course this past spring and is looking forward to completing her "Active Start" coaching certification this fall. She is excited to continue her course work, but it seems her execution of various drills and skills at the field is where she is gaining valuable coaching experience. "I enjoy interacting with the kids, they are so full of stories and enthusiasm. It's fun to watch them grow and develop into players." Sam continued, "Coaching is not as easy as it looks, but when I see a player pick up a skill that you have shown them, you realize you are making a difference. It's very rewarding."
When faced with a (sometimes) unruly mob of Minis, Sam embraces the challenge of capturing and keeping their attention. "Rewarding the players with scrimmages and fun games helps to achieve this. Coaching at the Mini level has to be about fun, not about winning and losing, just supporting the players so they can give it their all."
Coach Sam has such a passion for soccer that she is determined to do whatever she can to elevate her game. If you see a pair of long braids flying across the pitch on our Storm U15B Boys Team 1 this summer, that's our Sam. She has the distinct honour of being Storm's first female on a team in the boys division, and a quick peek at the stats tells the tale, she is definitely holding her own. "I wanted to challenge myself by playing on a boys team. I wanted to show other girls that you can do anything that you put your mind to. If you think you can play with the boys it doesn't matter if you are a girl, you can do anything you want to achieve. Hard work pays off."
In Sam's opinion, coaching is one more tool to help her develop her own skill set. "I want to continue to learn the game myself, you can always learn something new. Coaching helps me grow as a player, because you get to see the game from a different perspective. Hopefully, someday, I can have a career that involves Football (Soccer)." In the meantime, Storm is thrilled that we are her Club of choice, both as a player and as a Mini Coach. Looking forward to having you on board again this upcoming winter season, Coach Sam!