Former local coach Chris awarded top Canadian accolade

Former local coach Chris awarded top Canadian accolade

13 January 2021

FORMER Carryduff Colts coach Chris Morgan has earned Canada’s highest level of soccer coaching certification.

The head coach at Grande Prairie Regional College, Alberta, has been described by student athletes as a coach who would do anything to ensure his players’ success.

He constantly challenges them to grow and is, they say, one of the most intelligent and passionate coaches they have met. 

Now the head coach of the GPRC Wolves men’s and women’s soccer teams can add one more accolade to the list, earning the highest level of certification in Canada’s soccer coach education programme.

It is designed for senior players currently playing in a college or university, professional club, or academy environment.

Morgan, now in his fifth year heading both male and female Wolves’ Soccer programmes, says he can’t wait to apply his new-found knowledge to the field.

“I’ve played soccer my whole life, since I was a child. I didn’t start coaching until my mid-thirties. I love everything about the game. 

“I want my players to love it too, and to develop their skills to their fullest potential. It is my aim to empower, inspire and challenge the players every day,” he says.

“As a coach, the team always comes first. Before any coaching begins, I strive to understand and connect with each player on a personal level, emphasising honesty, integrity, humility, and being part of a team. This helps build the foundation of their learning environment.”

“Chris’s dedication to his craft is admirable,” said GPRC Sport, Fitness and Wellness Director Thomas Slifka.

“He is always striving to be the best he can be and is relentless in his pursuit to provide a great experience for GPRC student athletes. We commend the strides he has taken to continually develop his professional repertoire.”

Very few obtain the Canada Soccer A-Licence, but Chris is now a proud member of a cohort of 30 coaches across Canada who earned it after beginning courses in 2018.

Valid for three years, the A-Licence fulfils the coach education requirements of the Canada Soccer Professional Club Licence for the first-team head coach. 

The journey to earning it is an intense process involving online course work.

It involves personal workshops, various practical sessions and demonstrations of competency and mentorship delivered through video.

It covers content ranging from mental health and well-being to leadership, sports science, match analysis, developing tactical strategies and using technology in coaching.

As the second step on the Performance Stream pathway, the A Licence prepares coaches to progress to the Canada Soccer Pro Licence, which will be introduced by Canada Soccer in 2021.

Morgan also holds the Canadian Standards Association and UEFA ‘B’ licences, as well as working as a Learning Facilitator for the Alberta Soccer Association. He has been head coach of the Alberta Boys provincial soccer teams for the past two years. 

He is continuing his professional development by already commencing his two-year journey to obtain a UEFA ‘A’ Licence from the Irish Football Association.

Before immigrating to Canada from Northern Ireland, Morgan spent more than a decade coaching his son’s team and several others at Carryduff Colts Football Club. While he 

started as a volunteer, he was soon asked to stay on and guided the senior team to the league title, their first in the club’s history.

He has clearly brought the championship spirit with him to Grande Prairie. In his first season, Morgan led the Wolves Boys U-18 Soccer Club to a provincial title in Calgary. 

He also took the GPRC women’s team to a provincial silver medal spot and a berth at the Nationals in Montreal for the first time in the programme’s history. This led to Morgan’s ACAC Coach of the Year award for the 2016-17 season.

The following year, Morgan guided the women’s team at GPRC to their first ACAC provincial championship crown and a subsequent berth at the National Championships in Halifax.