'Surreal': Penticton youth soccer coach named best in the province

'Surreal': Best in BC win

A Penticton soccer coach was surprised and ecstatic to learn she had been lauded with a provincial award for her services.

Jamie Pond is the BC Soccer organization's Coach of the Year for 2022. She and her husband run Pond Performance Ltd. in Penticton, working with athletes in various sports to help them improve their game.

Pond is also a physical education teacher at Holy Cross school, and shares her soccer skills with Pinnacles FC, a non-profit association bringing soccer to youth all over the South Okanagan.

Learning she had won Coach of the Year was a total shock.

"It was pretty surreal to be honest, I honestly read it and then I turned to my husband Bob, we were eating breakfast I was like, is this like, is this a spam email? Is this for real?" Pond said.

"He kind of looked, and he's like, yeah, that looks pretty legit!"

BC Soccer talks to all local clubs when it comes time to name award winners, asking for nominations, so Pond is not sure who specifically brought her name to their attention. But she's happy for the win — coaching has a deeply rooted place in her heart.

"Teen and younger is kind of where most of my coaching has been. And I just really like connecting with them and getting them excited about soccer and being physically active and learning new skills, and then creating relationships," Pond explained.

"It was soccer for me growing up. Some of my best friends that I still talk to that I met 20 years ago were all because of soccer. So just to be a part of that for someone else and give a group of athletes the same connection with each other is really important to me."

Her best advice to other coaches? Learn from each other, and take any experience that is available.

"I think just putting yourself out there as much as possible, and connecting with as many, not even athletes, but other coaches and other clubs just to gain experience and gain friendships and other people that you can bounce ideas off of or anything like that is really, really important."

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