PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – A new face will patrol the University of Northern British Columbia women’s soccer Timberwolves’ sideline this season.
Neil Sedgwick, a former professional soccer player who has coached all over North America, has been named to the position, replacing former head coach Andy Cameron, who coached the team for its first four CIS seasons.
Sedgwick, who visited Prince George prior to being hired, credited the Timberwolves athletic department and the university community as a whole with creating an appealing work environment.
“Everyone that I met valued where they were, what they were doing, and the people they were doing it with,” said Sedgwick, who is currently the Director of Youth Development for EPIC Sport Management in Victoria.
“It simply felt like a fantastic fit.”
Sedgwick will be a strong asset for UNBC athletics, said Loralyn Murdoch, UNBC’s Director of Athletics and Recreation.
“We are very happy to have secured Neil as our new women’s soccer head coach,” she said. “The experience he brings to the team and the department will help us grow on and off the field.”
The fifth overall pick in the 1990 Canadian Soccer League draft, Sedgwick played professionally for the Winnipeg Fury, Nova Scotia Clippers and Montreal Supra before turning his attention to coaching.
He was the University of North Dakota’s first-ever women’s soccer head coach, staying in the position for two seasons before becoming the associate head coach at the University of Southern California.
After leaving USC, he spent seven seasons as the head coach of the University of Montana Grizzlies, guiding his teams to three Big Sky Conference tournaments while consistently developing teams that balanced academics and athletics.
Sedgwick hopes to draw from all those experiences to make his time at UNBC a success.
“Certainly on the field there are many lessons from training and games which will be applied,” he said. “However, it is the relationships with recruits and the players which will help the program continue to move positively.”
More recently, he served as an assistant coach for Canada’s Under-17 women’s national soccer team, as well as the Director of Youth Development for the Victoria Highlanders, where he was also an assistant for the club’s Premier Development League team under current UNBC men’s soccer head coach Steve Simonson.
Sedgwick believes his working relationship with Simonson, which spans over 20 years, will help grow the Timberwolves program, as well as further growing the game in the community.
“We work well together,” he said of Simonson. “We don’t always agree, we challenge one another, but we honour the background that each brings, and we have been able to put into practice some wonderful programs in a very collaborative manner.”
Sedgwick officially begins his new role on Monday, and he is excited about meeting his players.
“These are people that put in a great deal of effort toward not only their school, but to their sport and to the community,” he said. “I look forward to meeting them, getting to know them, and being part of their journey.”