By Zachary Flynn
The head coach of the NAIT Ooks women’s soccer team is stepping down after eight seasons leading the team.
In each of her eight seasons, Holt has led the team to Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) national appearances. She has six Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) provincial championships to her name as well as two more ACAC silver medals alongside two CCAA silver medals and one CCAA bronze.
She has also been awarded ACAC Coach of the Year on four separate occasions and has received one CCAA Coach of the Year. Her final regular-season record after eight seasons is 75-5-2.
“I’m really proud of what we did. If you would have told me eight years ago we would have had the success we’ve had I wouldn’t have believed that for a second,” said Holt.
“What we did far exceeded my expectations but then at the same time it also became the standard of the program.”
Reflecting on her time, there is one banner that hasn’t gone up on the wall of the NAIT gym.
“The only thing I didn’t achieve that I would have liked to achieve was to win a national championship. The individual awards are great and they’re important but they’re not the reason we do what we do,” said Holt.
“I’ve always been a part of team sport. I’ve done very little in individual sports in my lifetime. I really like achieving something with other people.”
Holt has also seen many of per players find success, producing 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.
“2018 was meant to be our last season but we just had so much fun with the players that we checked in at the end of the season and said: ‘What about one more?’” said Holt.
“Nationals were going to be hosted in Edmonton we had the opportunity to have our last games played at home in Edmonton.”
Holt works for NAIT full-time as the recreation manager in student well-being & community. Holt took on the part-time coaching position on top of her full-time job, but treated her coaching role the same as the other full-time coaches.
“Because my real job is the manager of recreation at NAIT, it was like having two full-time jobs during the regular season from the middle of August to the middle of November every day,” she said.
“And even in the offseason, the work doesn’t stop. Even when the season is done you’re recruiting nonstop, you’re watching games, giving campus tours to potential recruits and leading offseason training.”
While she isn’t coaching collegiate soccer anymore, she is still working with young athletes. She is currently an assistant coach on her daughter’s U14 club team and is working with Alberta Soccer Associations’ Regional EXCEL centre.
“Both groups of players are some of the best players in the province,” said Holt.
“I’m excited because those are the players I hope will transition into post-secondary, wherever that is. I hope that I can help prepare some of those players for post-secondary or whatever soccer may come their way. Some of them might go on to play with the national program too.”
With the extra time on her hands, Holt is looking to enjoy having time to breathe.
“I think for the next little while I’m not going to commit to anything and just enjoy some more free time,” said Holt.
And her family just got a new puppy, too.
“I guess maybe I spoke too soon about not filling time with anything because spending time getting the puppy trained is almost a full-time job.”