If the new man behind the bench of the Quest University Kermodes women’s soccer team isn’t totally familiar to Quest fans, his voice probably is.
Craig Smith, the man with the booming Scottish accent shouting instructions from the sidelines, is taking over as head coach of the program after longtime head coach Martina Franko decided to step down.
Franko, who has been the only head coach in the program’s history, told The Chief she wanted to spend more time with her young family and that Smith should be the perfect candidate to take over.
“With my young family, I just felt like I needed a break,” she said. “Stepping away also gives me the opportunity to focus more on the Quest Soccer Academy that I’m running.”
She said Smith, who joined the team in 2011 as an assistant coach, will transition seamlessly into his new role.
“It should be an easy transition for him and the girls,” she said. “It really won’t be that much of a difference because Craig has had such a big role. We were both coaching. I hope that he’ll have another female on staff and I hope I can help out too — I’m not going to just disappear.”
Quest athletic director Sean Shook said Smith was the best candidate for the job.
“It’s not going to be a big change for the girls and Craig is a guy that has really fit in well here at Quest,” Shook said.
With Franko at the helm, the Kermodes become a consistently strong team, winning a provincial bronze medal in 2012 and a silver medal in 2013. Franko’s squad in 2012 was the first-ever Quest athletic team to win a provincial medal.
Smith has a wealth of coaching experience, including working with the USL W-League’s Ottawa Fury from 2008 to 2010 and with the New Zealand women’s soccer team at their World Cup appearance in Germany in 2011.
For more information on the team, visit www.questkermodes.ca.