EDMONTON, Alta. - The NAIT Ooks longtime women's soccer head coach Carole Holt announced on Thursday that she is stepping down from her position with the team.
NAIT Athletics would first and foremost like to thank Carole for her leadership, guidance, and mentorship with our women's soccer program. Carole is a coach that won't easily be replaced as she exhibits and demonstrates all the values and attributes that we look for in our coaches. Her players dominated on the field of play and all left the program fine outstanding young women," said NAIT Athletics Manager Jordan Richey. "I wish Carole all the best in life after coaching at NAIT."
"I've been in this position for eight years, and I am proud of what we accomplished during that time. What a lot of people don't know is that this has been a part-time position for me. Although my full-time job is at NAIT (Recreation Manager), the coaching has been something I have done in addition to my full-time role at NAIT," said Holt. "In many ways, I have tried to run our program in the same way as other full-time programs, and after eight years, I thought it was a good time to step away and create some space for some new energy to lead the program."
Carole ends her career on a good note, as the Ooks are coming off another good season. The 2019 campaign saw them repeat as the ACAC Champions, leading to Holt's eighth CCAA Championship appearance in eight seasons of coaching. Carole was named ACAC North Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year and coached fifth-year forward Marissa Webb to an ACAC Player of the Year award along with a CCAA All-Canadian honour.
"I really, really enjoyed this season – the players were so motivated to be better every day we were together. We made so much progress – much more than I would have ever imagined. Despite losing 1-0 in our last game at nationals, I think that was the best Ooks performance at that tournament in my eight years. I will always remember that game – it was such an amazing gift."
Carole steps away from the Ooks after eight seasons as the head coach. In that time, she has turned the women's soccer program into one of the most successful programs in the country. Since Holt took over in 2012-2013, she has coached the squad to a 75-5-2 regular-season record. Under Carole, the Ooks have won six ACAC gold, two ACAC silver, two CCAA silver, and one CCAA bronze medal. Carole has also produced one ACAC Rookie of the Year, nine CCAA All-Canadians, six ACAC Player of the Year award winners, three of which went on to win CCAA Player of the Year Awards. Holt herself has also won ACAC Coach of the Year honours four times and CCAA Coach of the Year once.
"Eight years ago, I was given a chance to lead this program, and I will always be grateful for that. I got to work with some amazing athletes. I had a coaching staff who supported and challenged me to be better. I got to compete against the best teams in the country, and yes we won some soccer games along the way," Holt stated. "I learned so much during that time, but the real lessons I learned didn't come from winning, it came from losing and trying to get better each day. Those are life lessons that you can't find in a coaching manual."
Although she is stepping away from her duties with the Ooks, Holt will still be very busy in the soccer community. She is currently an assistant coach for her daughter's U14 club team, who will compete in the Alberta Youth Soccer League starting in the spring of 2020. Carole is also an assistant coach with Alberta Soccer Associations' Regional EXCEL centre.
"I am really excited about working with both groups of players. I want to help develop the next generation of players here in Alberta and help prepare them for their post-secondary or national team careers," said Holt.
An announcement concerning the NAIT Ooks women's soccer coaching staff will be made at a later date. All inquiries should be directed to Jordan Richey– E:firstname.lastname@example.org P: 780-471-7579