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    Female Apprentice Coach Program: Sanderson

    Female Apprentice Coach Program: Sanderson
    Courtesy of The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association:

    The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) is proud to announce its 2020-21 participants in the annual Female Apprentice Coach Program (FACP) for the sport of Soccer:

    Les Aigles d’Ahuntsic, RSEQ

    Apprentice: Valérie Sanderson
    Mentor: André Mercho

    Valérie Sanderson is excited to join the CCAA’s FACP and hopes to be a strong female presence in the group this season. After working with the Women’s Soccer program at Collège Ahuntsic last year, Sanderson will be mentored by André Mercho.

    With her extensive playing and coaching resumé, Sanderson believes she can help enrich the experience for the student-athletes at the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) institution.

    “The experience of coaching at the college is beneficial both for me and the girls and it’s very rewarding to be able to share my experience as a high-level player and my abilities as a coach,” said Sanderson, who enjoys working with 17-18 year olds. “At that age, they need a female presence to help them and understand them in any situation.”

    Being part of Les Aigles has given Sanderson a new outlook on soccer while allowing her to stay near the field. She sees her contribution to the team as something positive and rewarding.

    Despite the ongoing pandemic, fall sports have started back up in the RSEQ with the focus on regional play. Les Aigles are practicing and ready to compete in a shortened season.

    The 2020-21 season is like none other in CCAA history and even though league play and National Championships may not be proceeding as normal, coach education and training – which is key to the CCAA’s FACP – is being further supplemented via the FACP Leadership Development Program. This Leadership Program is developed by former CCAA student-athlete and current CCAA Head Coach and Doctoral student Danielle Cyr, who will be facilitating the mentorship process. 

    And Danick Lévesque, Student Life Advisor, Athletics at Ahuntsic, believes this will be a valuable experience for Sanderson.

    “On our end, we will do everything we can to make sure Valérie feels like she is part of the coaching team,” said Lévesque. “She will be given specific tasks and we will help her bond with the athletes and staff.”

    Those responsibilities include assisting with recruitment, video analysis, preparing specific training sessions as well as giving advice and being a confidante to the student-athletes.

    The fit has been seamless. Mercho has a strong sense of organization as well as a dynamic, serious and meticulous approach, which has helped him be versatile and adaptable.

    Sanderson played NCAA Division 1 soccer at the University of Memphis. Prior to that, she trained at Soccer Quebec’s National Centre for High Performance and played for the Laval Comètes in the USL W-League.

    And she has already built up an impressive coaching resume. Last August, after her season was cut short due to a serious injury, Sanderson began coaching a semi-professional team with Mercho before also jumping on board at Ahuntsic. She was also an assistant coach for the U12 AA Deux-Montagnes Shamrocks.

    Prior to that, Sanderson coached at various day camps in Memphis (2016-17) before coaching U9 and U11 teams at the Metz Training Academy in France during the 2017-18 season.

    “I envision my contribution to the team as something really positive and enriching,” said Sanderson. “I want the girls to feel comfortable with me and improve with my advice.”

    Media Contact:
    Rodney Wilson /
    Manager, Communications & Events

    About the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association:

    The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association enriches the academic experiences of student-athletes by providing leadership, programs and services that foster development through high-level competitive opportunities in intercollegiate sport.

    Today, CCAA student-athletes compete in seven sports at 10 CCAA national championships, each hosted by a CCAA member institution. Our 98 member institutions include colleges, universities, technical institutes and cégeps located in eight provinces and regionally governed by six member conferences

    In addition to governing the national championships, the CCAA also provides national awards and recognition to CCAA student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors and member institutions.

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