Teamwork and consistency are key ingredients for the coaching staff of the Cape Breton University Capers women’s soccer team. Together, they have constructed one of the most envied varsity sport programs in the country.
New Waterford’s Stephen ‘Ness’ Timmons, has been guiding the Capers since the birth of the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) team more than 25 years ago. Joined by assistant coach, Robert White, goalkeeper coach, Chad Power, and performance analyst and academic advisor, Mitchell Hanna, the chemistry in the four-man team is unmatched. “Sometimes we don’t even have to converse,” laughs Robert.
“Although I ultimately have to make a decision as the head coach, I want to hear what they have to say,” explains Ness. “I have a great level of faith in their recommendations.”
Robert, who has been with the team since 2003, brings the extra set of eyes that give the Capers their edge when it comes to consistency. With experience as both a teacher and father, his calm, stabilizing personality is something Ness says all of the players can relate to.
Chad is known to the team as Mr. Dependable, someone who always goes the extra mile and extends his positive and enthusiastic coaching approach to the team. Power says he joined the team at the perfect moment in 2007, a memorable year for the Capers who clinched a U Sports Championship. For Power, the people he coaches and works with are the greatest part of his time with CBU Athletics. “We have seen so many quality people, both on and off the field,” he explains. “There are so many wonderful things to say about our players and coaches.”
After a two-year stint as a student-assistant with the Capers in 2014, ‘youngblood’ Mitchell took a four-year hiatus to focus on his studies. But when the opportunity to return to the staff and lend his analytical strengths came up, Mitchell says it was too good to turn down. “This program is committed to being at the top of the league year in and year out,” he says. “These athletes are some of the best in the country at what they do.”
Having a high level of trust between coaching staff is critical to the team’s success, and the Capers take a team approach when it comes to making decisions on program operations. “We each bring a little something different to the table,” says Ness. “We’ve learned so much from each other, and we really complement one another.”
Ness says the extra ‘member’ of the coaching staff is all the support received from athletes’ family and friends. To reach the highest level of success, a year-round obligation is required from student-athletes. “Without support from the folks at home, our athletes wouldn’t be able to make such a giant commitment,” explains Robert. “They give 100 per cent every day and their family and friends support them through it all.” Robert adds that support from CBU, especially President David Dingwall and Athletic Director, John Ryan, makes all the difference to their determination.
It’s certainly a team effort to produce something this great, and the Capers are the perfect example of that teamwork. We can’t wait until they’re back on the field, doing what they do best.