National Women’s Team coaching staff unveiled
Personnel to work under head coach Clutterbuck in leading national team in 2021
By Ameeta Vohra
Football Canada has announced the Women’s National Team Coaching Staff who will guide the squad into the 2021 IFAF World Women’s Championships.
The selected personnel will work under the leadership of head coach Ryan Clutterbuck.
“Obviously this is an exciting time for the women’s national team program, and the four coaches selected to lead our team in 2021,” Clutterbuck says. “This is an experienced group led by three ex-national team players and supported by a wealth of coaching experience representing five provinces.”
Marci Kiselyk has been named the team’s Offensive Coordinator. She is no stranger to the National Team as she returns to the coaching staff. In 2017, she helped Canada claim silver at the IFAF Women’s World Championships in Langley, British Columbia instructing the receiving core.
As a player she helped the team claim silver at the 2013 tournament in Vantaa, Finland. Additionally, she was named as a tournament all-star at the 2016 Women’s National Championships that were hosted in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The Althabasca, Alberta native also competed with the Western Women’s Canadian Football League’s (WWCFL) Saskatoon Valkyries, where she was part of a dynasty as the team won five league championships.
Defensive coordinator is Cody Halseth. He returns to the coaching staff after helping Canada claim silver at the 2017 IFAF Women’s World Championships on home soil as linebackers coach.
Previously, the Outlook, Saskatchewan native was part of the personnel for the Saskatoon Valkyries in different capacities including defensive backs, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Additionally, Halseth has been with USPORTS’ University of Saskatchewan Huskies since 2011 and is currently a defensive assistant and defensive backs coach.
As a player, Halseth enjoyed a successful career as a defensive back with the Huskies (2009-2011), the Canadian Junior Football League’s (CJFL) Saskatoon Hilltops (2004-2008) as well as both the Centennial Chargers and Marion Graham Falcons of the Saskatoon Secondary School Athletic Directorate (SSSAD).
Currently, he is the High Performance Director for Football Saskatchewan. He also helped their under-18 squad win gold at the 2018 Football Canada Cup in Calgary, Alberta as well as three silver medals (2014, 2016, 2017) and a bronze medal (2015) at previous Football Canada Cup tournaments. Last summer, he represented Canada as a player on the Men’s National Flag Team at the 2018 IFAF Flag Football World Championships in Panama City, Panama.
Eric Theroux will assume the role of Special Teams Coordinator for the National Team. Theroux comes with a wealth of experience, serving as head coach of the WWCFL’s Edmonton Storm. Additionally, he is the recruiting coordinator for USPORTS’ team, University of Alberta Golden Bears.
Rounding out the coaching staff are Saadia Ashraf, Brendan Bennett, Pat Berry, Emma Hicks and Chris Hengen-Braun.
One of the most decorated athletes in Canadian women’s football, Ashraf is another returnee to the national team coaching staff. In 2017, she made a smooth transition from player to coach, helping Canada claim silver at the IFAF Women’s World Championships in Langley, British Columbia.
As a quarterback, Ashraf guided Canada to a pair of silver medals (2010, 2013) at the first two IFAF Women’s World Championships. Moreover, the quarterback great led Team Quebec to gold (2012) and silver (2013) medals at the Canadian Women’s National Championships.
Ashraf’s first experience with the sport was with touch football during her high school and CEGEP years. In 2000, the quarterback legend was introduced to the Women’s Professional Football League (WPFL).
Soon after, she joined the Montreal Blitz in the early 2000’s. She led the Blitz to three Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL) Championships (2008, 2010 and 2012). Between the 2010-2012 seasons, Ashraf steered the Blitz to consecutive undefeated seasons. Overall, she helped the Blitz achieve a 36-4 winning record from 2008-2012.
In 2015, Ashraf moved over to the coaching ranks with the Blitz. Currently, she is an offensive coach as well as the President of the team.
New to the coaching staff is Brendan Bennett. The Okotoks, Alberta native has been the offensive line coach with the WWCFL’s Regina Riot since 2014. In 2016, Bennett helped Saskatchewan win gold at the 2016 Women’s National Championships, that was hosted in Regina, Saskatchewan, as offensive line coach.
The current Technical Director for Football Saskatchewan enjoyed a successful playing career with USPORTS’s University of Regina Rams from 2007-2013. Additionally, Bennett is a coach with the Riffel Royals of the Regina Intercollegiate Football League (RIFL).
Another new face for the Women’s National Team is Pat Barry. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native has been head coach of the WWCFL’s Sasaktoon Valkyries since 2017. Previous to taking on the head coaching reins, he was with the organization for three years as defensive backs and linebackers coach. Barry was also on the coaching staff that helped Saskatchewan win gold at the 2016 Women’s National Championships in Regina. Additionally, he has experience coaching at both the high school and provincial level. As a player, he had stints with the CJFL’s Hilltops and USPORTS’ Huskies.
A former player on the Women’s National Team, Emma Hicks is transitioning into a coaching role this time. In 2013, the Sussex, New Brunswick native helped Canada claim silver at the IFAF World Women’s Championship in Vaanta, Finland.
Her involvement in football has garnered her a lot of experience in different capacities. Previous stints include Program Director for Football New Brunswick, Female Football Development Director for Football Saskatchewan, General Manager of the WWCFL’s Regina Riot, Defensive Line Coach for FW Johnson Collegiate Wildcats, President of the WWCFL, Defensive Line and Strength & Conditioning Coach with the Riot.
As a defensive star at the linebacker position, Hicks suited up for both the Riot and the Capital Area Lady Gladiators of the Maritime Women’s Football League (MWFL).
Rounding out the Women’s National Team coaching staff is Chris Hengen-Braun. He returns from the 2017 staff that helped Canada earn silver at the IFAF Women’s World Championship in Langley, British Columbia. This will be his third consecutive stint with the Women’s National Team as he was part of the silver medal squad at the 2013 championship in Finland. Additionally, he guided Saskatchewan to gold at the 2016 Women’s National Championship in Regina, serving as head coach.
Previously, the native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan coached with the WWCFL’s Saskatoon Valkyries. Other coaching stints include ones with the Aden Bowman Bears of the Saskatoon Secondary School Athletic Directorate (SSSAD) and Football Saskatchewan.
As an offensive lineman, Hengen-Braun enjoyed a successful playing career with both the CJFL’s Saskatoon Hilltops and the Bears.
Now that the personnel is in place, the focus turns over to the next steps in preparation for 2021.
“Moving forward, our staff will be focused on identifying and supporting players who are capable of winning a world championship for Canada,” Clutterbuck says.
WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM COACHING STAFF:
Head Coach: Ryan Clutterbuck
Offensive Coordinator: Marci Kiselyk
Defensive Coordinator: Cody Halseth
Special Teams Coordinator: Eric Theroux
Assistants: Saadia Ashraf, Brendan Bennett, Pat Berry, Emma Hicks, Chris Hengen-Braun
This post is also available in: French