Olds College announced the hiring of a new futsal and soccer coach last week that will help take the program to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference level in the coming year.
John Clubb joins the college after having been the head coach for the Big Country Soccer Association working with 16 separate communities throughout the area.
“Today is a very special day for us,” said Greg Lendvay, director of health and wellness at the college, in making the announcement.
Clubb becomes the second person on staff to possess his coaching certification. The other, Sergey Shchepotkin, coaches the junior varsity women's basketball team.
Clubb comes to Olds College with significant coaching experience. In addition to time spent with the Big Country Soccer Association, he also spent time with Cochrane Minor Soccer and the East Side Soccer Club in Calgary. He also coached “football” in his native England before coming to Canada nearly five years ago.
Clubb said he was attracted to the opportunity because it gives him a chance to build a program and work in a college environment with student athletes.
“There's lots of established colleges out there … and it will be nice to take a group of athletes and pit my skills against other colleges and see how far we can go,” he said.
Clubb said he hopes some of the children he helped coach in the Big Country Soccer Association become students at the college in the future where he can further mould them into student athletes.
When he's not coaching, Clubb will be offering his services at the Community Learning Campus fitness centre. In his spare time, Clubb has raced iron man in Hawaii and will be headed to Texas in May. He holds a masters degree in sports psychology.
Clubb said he relishes taking on the underdog role and using psychology to guide his teams to victory over much bigger colleges with established programs.
“Being English, I like the underdog tag. That's how I was at Cochrane. We built a reputation of going to Calgary and beating Calgary teams. It's the same here; you can take a small college and compete with the big boys,” he said.
Lendvay said Clubb was the right man to guide the program to the higher ACAC level.
“He's very connected in rural, he's very connected in Calgary, as well as he's got contacts in Europe … that's not going to hurt us if he can pull a few kids out of Europe,” he said.
Part of the reason for hiring professional coaches is to attract more student athletes to the college, which will add a different dimension to the campus.
“We want athletics to be a fun part of this community. As we continue to develop more and more athletes, we want our athletes to be a bigger part of the community as we grow,” Lendvay said, adding that developing the sports programs will be a good addition to the college.
The college has submitted an application to the ACAC for several sports and should know later in the spring of 2012 whether the application is successful.
"You can take a small college and compete with the big boys."John Clubb, soccer/futsal coach, Olds College Broncos