The stars finally aligned for the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves women’s soccer team to go on a bonding retreat, and for some it was actually a trip home.
Since their debut in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport League two years ago, it didn’t happen. With exhibition games against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack in Kamloops last weekend, Timberwolves coach Andy Cameron wanted his players to get some training work done with Penticton’s Sean Bacon, who specializes in leadership, team development and mental toughness training. Bacon also works with Pinnacles FC. There was also the connection with rookies McKenzie Ricard, Alena Carlile and Kylie Erb, Pinnacles FC alumni.
Cameron said his players were a bit apprehensive with Bacon, but it was a good experience with him last Thursday and Friday.
“It’s been tough,” said third-year Timberwolve Sidney Roy. “Sgt. Bacon was definitely not easy on us. That’s a good thing. We came here expecting a challenge. That is what he gave us.”
“Sgt. Bacon, he brings a lot of different things to the team that we didn’t know ourselves that we had,” said Prince George product Tianna Pius. “Confidence-wise, we’re beginning to realize we can do more than what we think we can.”
It wasn’t all hard work though. The group bonded off the field, which is where the local trio was key. Roy said they knew what kinds of things the team could do.
“We went to the beach. It’s simple things like that, honestly, that make us get closer together,” said Roy. “Everyday life things, like not always playing soccer. It’s nice to do those other things to get people closer together.”
Roy, a national junior lacrosse champ with Team B.C., said this group is uniting the best compared to the T-Wolves teams she played with before.
“Everyone is a big family now, which is really nice to see,” she said. “They (Ricard, Carlile and Erb) are doing really good. It’s nice for them to have that confidence that they have each other … they have that back-up. I think we have welcomed them really well. They are definitely going to be a big part of our team this year.”
“Here we are all in the hotel together, going to dinner together, doing stuff together. It’s really good,” said Pius, who liked Penticton. “I’m really excited for this new season. The group has come together more.”
“So far it’s been a very good experience,” said Cameron, who on the field wants to see his group earn the fourth place in the Canada West division. “We will hope to replicate it in years to come.”
The Timberwolves open their season when they host the UBC-O Heat this weekend.