By Dale Woodard on April 1, 2021.
The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s soccer team just brought in a coach with a little worldly experience.
On Wednesday, the Horns announced the hiring of Macky Singh as the new head coach for the women’s soccer program.
Singh, who officially becomes the new head coach today, is the seventh head coach in the program’s history and takes over from Ilsa Wong, who was relieved of her coaching duties along with Jack Reddy following a breach of COVID-19 sport cohort protocols last September.
Singh, who originally hails from Malaysia, brings a wealth of experience from three different continents, most recently in the Alberta College Athletic Conference as the head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, winning the ACAC Men’s Futsal Championship in 2019.
In Fort McMurray he was also the Technical Director for Fort McMurray Youth Soccer Association.
“I’ve coached for about 27 years,” said Singh. “One of the things about me is I specialize in coaching women. I’m well-known for that side of the game in terms of player development, national team experience and the top university level and college level. With all those experiences coming to the University of Lethbridge and the opportunity to coach the women’s program, I’m really excited about the opportunity and I hope I’ll be able to help improve the program and take it forward.
“When I did my interview one of the things I said was the women’s program at the University of Lethbridge was a sleeping giant. There is so much potential there that I think I can take that forward.”
Prior to his stint in Fort McMurray, Singh led the Olds College Broncos men’s and women’s programs for four years from 2014-18 and was named the ACAC Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year 2017.
He began his coaching career in New Zealand and worked his way up to the National Technical Director for the New Zealand Universities Council in 1998, where he was also the head coach for the New Zealand Universities Women’s National Team.
Singh returned to his home country in 2005, being named the head coach of Malaysia National Women’s and U19 team and was also appointed the National Technical Director for the women’s program.
Singh soon moved back to New Zealand as the head coach for the New Zealand Universities Women’s National Team.
He moved to Canada in 2007, landing in eastern Canada as a Regional Technical Director with Soccer New Brunswick.
Three years later he was named the head coach of the St. Thomas University women’s soccer program and Soccer New Brunswick Provincial Teams Manager.
Singh now makes the jump from the ACAC to USPORT in his latest move to southern Alberta.
“At the ACAC, I coached some really talented athletes, but at USPORT you’re working with a lot higher level athletes who are engaged and focused and really want to succeed,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s different from the ACAC level, but a lot of those players at USPORT have ambitions to hopefully play pro some day or making the national team. Also, the professionalism on the USPORT level is unbelievable. I’ve coached at every level and the only sport I haven’t had an opportunity yet is at the USPORT level. So it’s something I’m really excited to finally make that transition to.”
Officially taking over as the Horns head coach today, Singh now turns his attention to his new team.
He hasn’t met the players yet, but he’s done his homework studying the roster.
“I think there are about 24 players who are returning from 2019, which is really exciting because in 2019 they made the playoffs and lost to UBC 1-0, who then went on to win nationals,” said Singh “So that’s exciting the talent is there and the quality is there and I’ve got a list of recruits who I’ll be reaching out to as well. I’ll be doing a lot of one-on-ones with them in the next couple of weeks and that will be a bit of a way for me to learn about them and who they are and for them to build a relationship with me. I’ve got all the videos Spencer (Pommells, Pronghorns, athletics manager) sent me of all the games from 2019 and 2018 that I’ll be reviewing and getting an understanding about each player and how the team played.”
Singh said he’ll integrate his style of coaching into his players over time.
“I can’t force them to play the style I’m playing. I have to work with them,” he said
“But hopefully in a year or two, the style I like to play will come to fruition, the fullbacks going forward and playing high and joining the attacking side and playing it quick to the attack and trying to score a lot more goals.
“Defensively, (it’s) being very solid, not only in the back, but throughout the whole team. Hopefully the players can integrate that, but otherwise it’ll take a year or two to integrate. I’m not going to force it on them. I have to fit them into what works for them and slowly build from there.”
University of Lethbridge Pronghorns athletic director Neil Langevin said they received over 20 applicants from all over the world for the position.
“Macky made it through two rounds of pretty intensive work,” he said. “But overall it was a knowledge and confidence and how he can deal with players and be positive and move them forward in a challenging, but positive environment. So it was really that that set him apart. It was a very hard competition and it was very close to the end, but we’re overall when we all came amongst the idea to bring Macky in. We’re confident and look forward to him coming to Lethbridge.”
Taking over his new job today, Singh said he’ll be contacting the Horns players after Easter for some one-on-one Zoom calls.
Starting April 1.
“From there, we’ll do similar with the recruits as well who have indicated their interest in coming to the University of Lethbridge or they’re already here.”
From there, Singh said he plans to hold meetings to discuss team culture and the program and then start breaking things down in terms of positions.
“I’ll bring the goal keepers together and have a little session and bring the defenders and have a session,” he said. “I’ll start building that kind of relationship. At the same time I’ll be looking at players who are already leaders or are captains and create a leadership team and someone I’ll be (leaning) on to provide support for me throughout the team. I’ll also be giving them an off-season training program to work on prior to training camp.”
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