With the final chapter of a successful five-year varsity career just behind her, Erika Sheen, star setter of the Camosun Chargers National Bronze medalist women’s volleyball team returns to the bench in her new role as one of the program’s assistant coaches, thanks in large part to funding from Sport Canada and the Female Apprenticeship Coach Program (FACP).
Providing former student-athletes with the significant opportunity to launch a coaching career, the FACP offers participants the start, confidence and professional development needed to attain a higher level of coaching. This year, Erika stands among a select group of 12 individuals who were hand-picked from across the nation to be mentored by Canadian College Athletic Association (CCAA) coaches in basketball (4), volleyball (4), cross-country running (2), soccer (1) and badminton (1).
“I am very excited to be a part of the Camosun community as a coach now,” says Erika. “I have a very strong desire to provide and create multiple opportunities to young females in their post-secondary athletic experience and I believe the FACP will help me achieve this. Having started my volleyball career at a small town college in Alberta to wrapping my post-secondary career with a CCAA Bronze medal, I truly have experienced first-hand what it takes to get to the CCAA National Championship that every young athlete dreams of. After experiencing the highs and lows within the sport, I believe the FACP program will help me continue my strong passion in giving back to the game and to help create an amazing experience for other young females by extending beyond the court and include an opportunity to be a role model and leader for athletes.”
Erika recently graduated from Camosun College with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree majoring in Human Resource Management and Leadership. She transferred to Camosun following graduating with honors in Business Management from Lethbridge College. Throughout her five years as a student-athlete, Erika has held a leadership role, serving as a team captain and coaching at various camps in Alberta and BC.
“Taking leadership as a minor within my degree definitely expanded my interest in coaching and helping those around me in the game of volleyball,” comments Erika. “I have had many opportunities to help out and volunteer with local groups, clubs and high school volleyball teams while still playing my post-secondary volleyball, however this will be the first time I will make a transition from being a competitive athlete to a coach.”
Helping Erika make the changeover is the figure at the helm of the Chargers women’s volleyball program, Head Coach Chris Dahl, who was named CCAA and PACWEST Coach of the Year this past season.
“Canada has long been considered a world leader in coaching development and the Female Apprentice Coaching Program is another example of why,” states Coach Dahl. “Ultimately through this program we hope to provide Erika with multiple growth opportunities in addition to a supportive and positive experience as she transitions from student-athlete to coach in sport. We’re very fortunate here in Victoria to have a wealth of knowledge and expertise within arms’ reach. In addition to the mentor-apprentice relationship, the NCCP program and the partnerships we have at Camosun with its Centre for Sport and Exercise Education, as well as PISE and the Canadian Sport Institute, our Provincial and National sport organizations will all prove to be valuable resources for us.”
For Erika, the opportunity to pursue a career in coaching is the ideal way to maintain her involvement in sport while giving back to the game.
“I can definitely see coaching as a primary role in my career path in my future. I knew that I always wanted to give back to the game whenever I was done playing as an athlete, even if that meant just helping out at youth camps. I feel beyond blessed to learn and develop from my main mentor Chris Dahl. The Camosun Chargers community is truly one of a kind and I feel fortunate to be able to continue being a part of this strong culture.”