Women’s soccer gets a new coach
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
Coaches are often the unsung heroes of teams. When the going’s good, the recognition usually falls chiefly on the squad. But when the going’s bad, attentions shift to the one patrolling the sidelines. Fortunately for the new head coach of the women’s soccer team, Chris Laxton, his resumé, quality group, and confidence point to a man well-equipped to avoid the latter.
“Chris is a coaching professional who brings a solid foundation in both theory and practice. His extensive education, coupled with years of experience make him the right person to take this team of eager athletes to the next level. Ultimately we want a program that is successful in both the classroom and on the field. I am thrilled with Chris’s plans to build upon the strength of the current group of athletes, and am convinced that his recruiting plans will help this program make an impact on both the provincial and national stage in coming seasons,” commented Paul Cohee, director of student affairs and services.
If Cohee was looking for someone who can be an example both athletically and academically, it would seem difficult to find a better man for the job than Laxton. The product of Dunbar’s youth system joins the Royals with a short story’s worth of qualifications, having held head coaching positions with both Fusion FC and Vancouver FC, assistant coaching positions with Quest University and UBC, and a slew of others including appointments with Coastal FC and Abbotsford of Super Y. He also holds a Canadian Soccer Association “B” National Licence, National Coaching Certification Program Level 4 theory, National Soccer Coaches Association of America “Premiere” Certificate and Goalkeeping Coach Diploma, and a British Columbia Soccer Association Goalkeeping Certificate. On the academic side, Laxton boasts a master’s degree in coaching sciences, a bachelor’s degree in education, and a bachelor’s degree in human kinetics, all from UBC. Players could do much worse in terms of a role model.
Though obviously capable of coaching all positions, Laxton’s was keeper growing up. “I went in goal when I was in U12 because I wasn’t fit enough to play out and found I was quite good at it.” While a professional career as a player was never in the cards, Laxton knew from a young age that he would end up as a bench boss, citing his father coaching him as a child as a major influence before remarking why he does it: “It’s seeing them progress and build their confidence on and off the pitch—seeing them blossom and players and growing that passion for soccer [makes it worth it].”
The keeper from Kits likes what he’s seen from his new squad so far: “They’re a very eager group—eager to start seeing more success in terms of results. They work hard and seem like a cohesive unit, which is a good starting point.” The talent on the roster will likely lend itself well to Laxton’s style of play, which he describes as “an attacking style—taking risks going forward.”
“I’m very excited to join the Royals. Looking forward to putting on the green and black again—Dunbar colours—working with the group, and creating a program that we can all be proud of,” finished Laxton.
The team has the ability and the coach has the resumé; September can’t come soon enough.