This week, Tigers women’s soccer head coach Cindy Tye leads Canada’s U20 women’s national team to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Costa Rica. After a week-long training camp, the Canucks will face the Korea Republic on Thursday, followed by France on August 14. Rounding out group action is a game versus Nigeria on August 17.
Tye and her coaching staff hope to prepare the players to face the wide range of playing styles they will face in the group stage.
“Korea Republic will be tight technically, controlled in possession, and organized. France will be a mix of control and athleticism, and we can expect Nigeria to bring physicality and pace,” says Tye.
On the world stage, finally
After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the athletes will be getting their first taste of international soccer on a big stage.
“Youth tournaments are about getting players experience on the international stage, and we want to show we can compete with other top teams in the world.”
Leading the Canadians past the group stage this month would mean Tye will be missing the early stages of the Tigers pre-season. Being able to lean on her Dalhousie assistant coaches during her trips with the national team has made things easier for Tye.
“My assistants are amazing. Kate, Rieka, and Andrew have all stepped up to help with some recruiting visits during the month and are ready to take on a larger role should I be late coming into training camp. They all have over five years of experience with the program, they know what it is supposed to look like so the players are in good hands. We are lucky to have them!”
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For Tye, being in a new environment is a learning opportunity, even for someone with her vast experience.
“Being around other staff, styles of coaching, getting to practice in training and games, you learn so much from others and I feel the exposure pushes me to keep growing as a coach.”
Athletics and Recreation Executive Director Tim Maloney sees the impact these events have had on Tye and the program at Dalhousie.
“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Cindy’s calibre as part of our leadership team and coaching group at Dalhousie,” says Maloney. “She has continually demonstrated her ability to lead on the international stage with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup being the next exciting chapter on her journey. This experience will be another meaningful development opportunity for Cindy which will only mean great things for our program at Dal.”
Tye is not the only Tigers coach on the international stage this summer. Men’s volleyball head coach Dan Ota spent much of June and July with the Volleyball Canada national team programs, and women’s hockey head coach Troy Ryan is currently at a selection camp for Hockey Canada’s women’s national team ahead of their trip to Denmark for Worlds.
“It is such a valuable asset to have our coaches working in national team environments,” says Tye. “It shows the level of expertise and experience, and the unique skill sets that are valued. It isn't just national teams; we have Canada Games and provincial coaches and coaches that recently competed at U SPORTS national championships. We were able to spend a couple days together last month taking part in professional development as a staff. The chance to connect and share best practices was very valuable for everyone and will in turn, help us be better for our student athletes.”
The Canadians play Korea Republic in their opening group match on Thursday, August 11 at 11pm AT. Games can be streamed on FIFA+.
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