CCAA 2023 Men’s Soccer Coach Of The Year Nominees
Ahead of the 2023 CCAA Men’s Soccer Championships, let’s take a look at the 2023 CCAA National Coach of the Year nominees from the five conferences PACWEST, ACAC, MCAC, OCAA, RSEQ, and the ACAA..
Coach of the Year – Marc Rizzardo – Langara Falcons (second consecutive season)
Coach Marc Rizzardo of the Langara Falcons is the PACWEST Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year.
The 2023/24 season marks the second consecutive year Coach Rizzardo has received this honour, bringing his coach of the year commendations to a total of nine. Under Rizzardo’s guidance, the Falcons Men’s Soccer team wrapped up the season with a 6-4-2 record.
During his 23 years at the helm of the Langara Men’s soccer program Marc’s overall record was an impressive 137-56-35. His teams won 4 National Championships and 7 Provincial Championships. Marc was named PACWEST Coach of the Year now 9 times, and CCAA National Coach of the Year 3 times. Under his guidance his players flourished taking home many individual awards, among them 5 CCAA Academic All-Canadian Awards, 14 CCAA All-Canadian Awards, and 76 PACWEST All-Star Awards.
North Male Coach of the Year | NIELS SLOTBOOM | Keyano Huskies:
The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) is delighted to announce Niels Slotboom of the Keyano Huskies as the recipient of the 2023-24 ACAC Men’s North Coach of the Year award.
Slotboom earns his first ACAC Coach of the Year award and is the first Keyano Huskies Men’s Soccer Head Coach to earn the honour since the 2016 outdoor season.
A product of Assen, Drenthe, The Netherlands, Slotboom is in his third year as the Head Coach of the Keyano Huskies Men’s Soccer, also handling duties as Head Coach of the Women’s Soccer Huskies. With the Men’s Soccer Huskies, he’s amassed a 17-9-3 in those three seasons, qualifying the Huskies for a playoff berth in all three seasons. He also coached the Men’s and Women’s Futsal Huskies to a pair of ACAC Championships in 2023.
Slotboom began his coaching career with Lethbridge FC and progressed to the Meridian Soccer Association in Lloydminster. After spending his post-secondary career with the Lakeland College Rustlers and Olds College Broncos, Slotboom entered the ACAC coaching ranks with the Broncos, first as an Assistant Coach and then as a Head Coach.
“Niels has been a catalyst in bringing our Men’s Soccer program back to their current standing as a leading program in the conference and threat for the ACAC podium,” said Jonathan Lambert Director, Athletics & Recreation with Keyano College. “This award is well deserved and recognition of the path to success he’s put this program on.”
This prestigious accolade was formally celebrated at the 2023 ACAC Men’s Soccer Championship, hosted by NAIT, TKU, and CUE in Edmonton, Alberta.
South Male Coach of the Year | CONNOR BRADY | SAIT Trojans:
The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) proudly announces Connor Brady of the SAIT Trojans as the recipient of the 2023-24 ACAC Men’s Soccer South Division Coach of the Year.
As a coach, Connor is profoundly passionate, highly experienced, and extremely dedicated. He has cultivated a culture of excellence within his team and consistently motivates his athletes to strive for the utmost in every aspect of their lives — on the field, in the classroom, and in their daily endeavors.
Brady has guided his team to an impressive 9-1-0 record this season, culminating as the top-seeded team in the south division. His team has delivered an outstanding performance, scoring an impressive 49 goals while conceding only three.
SAIT Trojans Manager of Athletics, Lauren Kucera remarks, “Connor has built a successful program that has challenged the best in the country year after year and continues to produce outstanding soccer players and successful young adults. To receive this accolade for a second time in three years is proof of Connor’s ability as a coach and a leader in sport. The SAIT Trojans are extremely proud and appreciative of Connor and his accomplishments. Congratulations!”
2014-15 ACAC Men’s Soccer North Division Coach of the Year- Keyano Huskies
2016-17 ACAC Men’s Soccer North Division Coach of the Year- Keyano Huskies
2021-22 ACAC Men’s Soccer South Division Coach of the Year- SAIT Trojans
Connor Brady is the only ACAC soccer coach to be named top coach in both the South and North Divisions since the ACAC began awarding one for each in 2007-08.
This prestigious accolade was formally acknowledged at the 2023 ACAC Men’s Soccer Championship, hosted by NAIT, TKU, and Concordia in Edmonton, Alberta.
MCAC Coach of the Year – Giovanni Benitez Friesen – Providence University Pilots
The Providence University College Pilots took a gamble when they turned their most recent men’s soccer captain into the program’s head coach.
In Giovanni Benitez Friesen, they hit the jackpot. The first-year bench boss is the MCAC men’s soccer coach of the year.
PUC athletic director Russell Willms said the transition from player to coach was “seamless,” and added that he has a good mentor in women’s soccer coach of the year, Tory Walker.
“One thing he’s really done well at is drawn from the people around him, Tory mainly, learning how to be successful on the back side of coaching, at training or match management or pre-game talks,” Willms said.
“I’m not surprised he’s that successful because when he talks soccer, he convinces people. I believe in what he’s talking about. I believe in his way to play.”
Benitez was an all-conference team member as a Pilot and still plays at a high level in Winnipeg’s Manitoba Major Soccer League.
Willms said it helps that the team is loaded with returning players who already knew Benitez knew the game and respected him as a leader, which has rubbed off on the rookies.
He led the Pilots to a league-leading 9-1-2 record, and according to Willms, did it with his team playing the right way.
“The way they’re playing is exactly what he was talking about, the way he wanted to play when we interviewed him,” Willms said. “It’s visibly evident that exactly the things he was talking about are the way his team performs.
“There are people that are naturally gifted for certain roles and Gio is really gifted in coaching soccer.”
The Provincial champion Pilots will forego the CCAA National Championships to defend their National Christian Colleges Athletic Association title which they won in 2022 at the NCCAA National Tournament in Kissimmee, FL next week if they are successful in winning their playoff game today (November 7th) in Minneapolis, MN.
East Coach of the Year – John Williams – George Brown College
George Brown’s John Williams is the OCAA Coach of the Year and a nominee for CCAA Coach of the Year. The Huskies ran the table with a perfect 10-0 record to win the East Division crown, scoring a league-high 62 goals while allowing the fewest against with four. Williams is also the East Division Coach of the Year.
A perennial leader and winner of many National championships in the Senior Men’s and Women’s Club arena, Williams repeats as the OCAA East Coach of the Year where under his watch, the 2021 outdoor season was one of the best in program history! They claimed their first silver medal since 2007 and qualified for the program’s first-ever CCAA National Soccer Championship. He followed up that performance in the indoor soccer season by finishing fourth at the OCAA Indoor Soccer Championships
West Coach of the Year – Michael Aquino – Humber College
Humber’s Michael Aquino is the West Division Coach of the Year. The Hawks finished second in the West Division with a record of 7-1-2, allowing just seven goals against while scoring 33 times.
The leader of the perennial OCAA Champions, it is surprising that this award is not given to him more, but I guess when everyone perceives that you have the best players you don’t get the benefit of the doubt.
Just some of the highlights as the Hawks finished with a silver this year:
- Humber finished on the provincial podium for the 13th straight season.
- The Hawks were held without a goal in a loss for the first time since 2011.
- Humber now has 27 provincial medals.
- Humber’s postseason win streak ends at 17.
RSEQ Coach of the Year Pedro Fernando Tojo – Ahuntsic College Aigles
Pedro Fernando Tojo of Le Collège Ahuntsic Aigles has been named this year’s RSEQ Coach of the Year in D1 Men’s Soccer.
The D1 men’s soccer team had a breathtaking season and won top honors by taking first place in the RSEQ provincial final. In doing so, the team qualified for the Canadian Championship which will take place in Windsor, Ontario from November 8 to 11.
ACAA Men’s Coach of the Year – John-Ryan Morrison – St. Thomas University Tommies
Coach john-Ryan Morrison of the St. Thomas University Tommies is the ACAA Men’s Coach of the Year.
Coach Morrison’s team is the only one in Canada to complete back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, going 30-0-6. This season in the ACAA, his team went 10-0-2 and finished with a +42 goal differential.
Since his first season with the Tommies in 2015 Coach Morrison has led the squad to two silver medals at the ACAA championships, including a birth at the 2018 CCAA National Championship, the program’s first trip in 19 seasons. In 2021, he led the Tommies to their first ACAA banner in over two decades and earned the first CCAA championship tournament win in the school’s history.
https://humberhawks.ca/sports/msoc/2023-24/releases/20231029ruz8nn mens soccer