Bishop’s Gaiters soccer coach reflects on transition from player to authority figure

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Sarah-Kim Bergeron started her Bishop’s University varsity career when she joined the women’s soccer team back in 2016 after transferring from the Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans in British Columbia.
The 27-year-old Quebec City native was an instrumental piece to the Spartans run of success. The B.C. team dominated women’s university soccer for a number of years. Trinity Western claimed two national championship titles while she was on the team.
But after five years at TWU, and two ACL injuries later, she decided it was time to move closer to home. She lived out of province for nearly 10 years. Bergeron said it felt right to make a move back home, and Bishop’s just made a lot of sense.
“I wanted to be closer to family and then I knew the head coach from my university and he had this vision of building the Bishop’s scene from the ground up,” Bergeron said. “He needed players and it kind of just worked out.”
She played two seasons with the Bishop’s Gaiters before transitioning to assistant coach. During that time, Bergeron became a captain, leading the women’s team on and off the field. After the 2017 season, she earned the U SPORTS Student-Athlete Community Service Award.
Bergeron is the first Gaiter to win a major award at the U SPORTS level. She was a powerful voice in the locker room, but the award highlighted her devotion to growing the game in Lennoxville and within the English-speaking community.
“We were bringing awareness to a women’s soccer program and awareness to Bishop’s as a whole,” said Bergeron. “It was just a way for English kids to have a place to play soccer in a very French province.”
She became the coordinator of the Jr. Gaiters Soccer Academy in 2017. That summer, she became the head coach of the Jr. Gaiters Soccer Camp. This is where she developed a passing for coaching; something she never knew she would pursue in the near future.
The academy grew really quickly, Bergeron explained. It started with 20 kids in the winter, but by the summer they were at 90 in total. The following year 50 kids showed up for the winter session and 108 kids showed up for the summer camp.
“We just wanted to make soccer fun for kids,” she said. “How can we actually spark that desire so that when they go to the biggest club here in Sherbrooke they would already have that passion that could actually help them build and become better soccer players.”
When the 2017 season wrapped up, Bishop’s head coach Paul Ballard approached Bergeron, who is currently studying for her Master’s in Education at the university, to take on coaching duties in 2018.
Her experience with the academy gave her the confidence to accept the assistant coach position. Bergeron said she learned that coaching is more than telling players what to do. With the Jr. Gaiters, she helped with recruiting, created a budget, and communicated with parents.

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