Serving as the special teams coach for the Canadian National Women’s Football Team, Olivier Eddie is ready to help contribute to a golden finish. Having served on the coaching staff of the Mount Allison University men’s varsity team, Eddie provides leadership and experience.
The opportunity to get involved in women’s football began at the 2012 National Challenge Cup, the first Canadian national women’s football championship. It also served as a talent evaluation for Football Canada as it was determining its roster for the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds. Serving on the coaching staff of Larry Harlow with Team Atlantic, Eddie was offered the chance to further his experience coaching female football.
“I was asked to coordinate the offense for Team Atlantic in a National Tournament in Montreal (which was also considered the first wave of tryouts for the athletes). From there, I was approached by Team Canada's head coach to help coordinate the passing game and coach the receivers.
"After a few coaching changes, Football Canada decided to invite Chad Palmer from Saskatoon as a receivers coach. I would be moved to the special teams coordinator position. I had enjoyed working with the receivers at the tryouts, but I am more than happy to help the team by coordinating the special teams. I consider it good experience for my young coaching career. I'm really looking forward to the challenge.”
While at the 2013 IFAF Worlds in Finland, Eddie will also be serving in a mentorship role. Providing wisdom and advice to Cheryl O’Leary, she will be on the Canadian squad as a mentor coach.
Having served as a player and coach with the Capital Area Lady Gladiators of the Maritime Women’s Football League, O’Leary is dedicated and articulate. In discussing Eddie’s role as a mentor, the opportunity to be helping women gain practical coaching experience is one he is proud to participate in.
“Absolutely! My first coaching job was with my Alma Mater at Mount Allison University, and I remember learning from a number of coaches over there both in the meeting rooms and on the field. The best way to learn is to see other coaches in action.
"I am happy to have the opportunity to share what I have learn in past experience to a new coach. Cheryl will be a great help. She is a great addition to the coaching staff and I have already enjoyed the few interactions we have had preparing for the tournament.”
With his role as the special teams coach, Eddie is quick to acknowledge its importance in the potential outcome of a game. In 2010, Alex Black (also competing with Canada in 2013) led all competitors in kickoff returns yardage on special teams. With the United States looking to repeat as gold medalists, special teams may emerge as a key strategy in preventing their ambitious repeat.
"Special teams is as important to the game as the offense or the defense. It's an opportunity for teams to change the momentum in a game and to make big plays. When you take time to think about it, special teams plays are the biggest change of field position plays in the game—the ball travels a farther distance on kick plays than on the average pass or run play, so it's definitely important.
"I feel that coaching athletes in special teams play is often neglected; this is especially true at the minor level. We will be taking this tournament one day at a time. We need to focus on our first opponent, which is Spain, and then versus the host country Finland. If we play well and win both games, we will most likely have the chance to test ourselves versus the USA (if they win their pool), but we need to start by winning our first game, and we will take it from there."
Having served as a coach and director of football operations with Mount Allison, it was a positive experience for him. During his tenure with the club, he also served as an executive director with Football New Brunswick. While Eddie started working this year with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders in corporate sponsorships, his Atlantic football roots have laid a foundation upon which his star will continue to rise.
"I look up to a few of my old coaches and friends who currently coach at Mount Allison University. I'm very fortunate to have them in my network. They are professional coaches and they are always willing to entertain my questions and to share their input.
"I've learned a lot from them including the importance to have a hard work ethic and to do things the right away. They place particular attention to details, and that's one of the reasons why they are successful in what they do."
All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.