A familiar face will be on the sidelines when the Cape Breton University Capers Women’s Soccer Team takes the field next season. Fan favourite, Ciera Disipio, has returned to the Capers, but this time she’s putting her talent to work as a member of the coaching staff.
Ciera was recently accepted into the U-Sports Female Apprentice Coach Program, an initiative aimed at providing coaching experience to young female leaders. “I am so excited to have this opportunity,” says Ciera. “I can’t wait to get started!”
During her time with the team, Ciera will be mentored by veteran head coach, Ness Timmons; assistant coach, Robert White; goalkeeper coach, Chad Power; and performance analyst and academic advisor, Mitchell Hanna. Ciera says the staff played a key role in her success as a player, and she looks forward to shadowing them in the upcoming season.
Ciera is no stranger to coaching, having led multiple teams with Soccer Cape Breton over the years, and Ness says there is no better candidate for this opportunity. “She’s a role-model for all student athletes,” he explains. “There is a shortage of female coaches in U-Sports and this program is a great way to get former players like Ciera on that path.”
Participants in the apprenticeship program must be recent graduates who demonstrate a passion for their sport, the desire and skills to coach and the ability to inspire and guide the next generation of athletes. The goal of the program is to increase the number of female coaches in university sport while providing support through advanced training opportunities and mentorship.
CBU Director of Athletics and Student Life, John Ryan, describes the program as a win-win for everyone. “The Capers women’s soccer athletes will benefit from the insight and leadership Ciera brings to the table,” he says. “She is an all-time great, and she’ll now have the opportunity to continue her coaching path under the mentorship of one of the most decorated coaches in U-Sports.”
John adds that this initiative provides a huge benefit to CBU Athletics, as the organization continues with their ongoing efforts to bring more female coaches into its varsity programs. “We’re always looking at ways of making progress when it comes to diversity,” says John. “Not only in the coaching ranks but in all aspects of the department, including student employment.”
Ness says Ciera’s close connection with the players as such a recent grad will be invaluable. “Ciera is only a year out, she knows our players,” he explains. “We’re going to tap into her player point of view and put her to work!”
For Ciera, she sees the opportunity as a way to serve as a bridge between the coaches and student-athletes, using her perspective as a recent grad to offer unique support. “I know what they’re going through and I think that’s really valuable,” she says. “It’s going to be a great experience.”