As a program implemented in northern BC by EPIC Sport to offer supplemental training and occasional competition opportunities to interested players/families. Timberwolves FC has been around for a number of years as Timberwolves Girls Academy and Timberwolves Boys Development Program. Coaching in Prince George, Steve Simonson and Neil Sedgwick wanted to share the methodology of EPIC Sport
in the north. 'In The North For The North'. With the academy, we have worked with players for five years players who have connected directly with a methodology that sets them up for future successes within the game. Over the past five years we have been able to share this methodology in a safe and nurturing training environment. We have had players come through our Timberwolves Girls Academy and Timberwolves Boys Development Program who already know, and having years of experience inside of our reference based teaching.
The Timberwolves FC Academy and Timberwolves FC Teams Program have provided a balance between training and competitions but more importantly, we value these experiences from a human level. We treat children like children and keep their abilities and needs as the starting point. These are children looking to enjoy the sport and share this experience with others which is the reason that we remember our sport.
Because of our experiences, and through the EPIC development mission, we have found a way to provide both the inclusive, enjoyable experience and an efficient learning environment possible for young players looking to understand what to look for in a game, where to look for that information, and the response that will give them success once they have the information. This is the learning process. The ball, the game, and some insightful leadership is what young players need. We meet them where they are at and teach them appropriately.
As the proverb states, "It takes a village to raise a child". We look at the sporting engagement environment and we believe it takes a village to engage children in sport so that they have everlasting love for activity and the health and wellness it brings. For this reason we want to work with as many individual in the community as possible to help build the environment that supports the player. Come one, come all, we want our teams programs to be inclusive and engaging.
As EPIC has always done, we encourage players to register in diverse programming. There are many in the north that players can also attend within club and academy format. There are a number of players who train at Timberwolves FC who are also part of PGYSA, Quesnel Youth Soccer, Williams Lake Youth Soccer and Northern United. This is encouraged because we feel that a one size fits all does not exist and players can benefit from many environments.
With the consistent EPIC curriculum, as we say 'consistent reference teaching' throughout the age groups, players are able to move from coach to coach and group to group. They hear the same messaging which is key to development. Many clubs build teams and then the coaches of these teams instruct what they like based solely on their own individual experiences. We are fortunate to have great people coaching who are committed to taking their individual experiences while learning and improving the way they instruct in a consistent manner. We are not comfortable being a group of individual and separate teams that happen to play in the same uniforms; since 2014 EPIC has aspired to take groups of players and coaches that play in the same uniforms and live by consistent playing references - the thread that is woven throughout the programming.
Neil Sedgwick and Steve Simonson take the technical lead on these programs. Neil and Steve have taken the EPIC curriculum and designed the northern instruction to fit the environment. Both have taken what they know from years of research and practical experience coaching youth, university and within the national teams program, and they have boiled it down so coaches and players in the North can find greater success within the game. With technical leads Joanne Wankling and Francesco Bartolillo taking major roles within the programs they bring the experience and knowledge from the B License certification to the program. Who else coaches and mentors? Student-athletes at UNBC who live the reference-based coaching of Neil and Steve on a daily basis and have honed their skills in delivering this in an age appropriate way.
Over the past few years we have taken the Academy teams to festivals, jamborees and tournaments. During this time community coaches: parents who want to learn and spend their time enriching the experiences of their children, have joined us and we have been able to share. This year we are committed to more coach development. We want to share the EPIC curriculum with these community coaches within a spring teams based program. This has been a successful program for EPIC on Vancouver Island and has helped many players and coaches over the years.
We remain committed to academy training and offer this training through the spring. We know that the academy has a different feel than being within a teams based program and we want our well trained technical team to directly work with young players.
There are several reasons for Timberwolves FC
- We have changed the name to bring boys and girls under one name. EPIC has presented the girls and the boys academy programs in the north over the past few years but with different names. Now we go under the singular, Timberwolves FC.
- To help young players. We are confident that when a player is consistently training in our environment that they will be making better decisions based on the information they are receiving within the soccer environment, and they will acquire the key techniques that will allow them to execute those decisions.
- To assist in coach development. The Timberwolves academy programs and teams has helped many of UNBC varsity players build their leadership and coaching knowledge. They have learned and explored their teaching with a number of them going on to become trained and certified coaches at the CSA C License and B Licence level. With the Teams Program, we will also be mentoring community coaches around our methodology and providing feedback to them so we can all make the experience of the youth player more enjoyable and full of learning.
- The Timberwolves academy has been able to give to the UNBC Timberwolves varsity teams over the years. As you can imagine, funds are tight and the teams stretch the varsity budgets as far as possible to ensure the student-athletes get valuable out of season competition. The reality of being in the north is that it becomes expensive to get those games. The funds that we are able to generate through the academy programs and donate to the varsity teams may allow those teams to travel additional times so they can gain necessary game experience.