After yet another disappointing season, the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack has hired the third head coach of their women’s soccer program since 2014.
On Tuesday (Feb. 12), the university announced they would be turning the program over to Mark Pennington, a former assistant with the UBC Thunderbirds. Pennington has also coached with Trinity Western from 2014-16 and was the technical director of the SurDel Soccer Club in Delta.
"I am really excited about this opportunity. I think this is a great school in a great area with huge potential," said Pennington in a press release. "I feel that I’ll bring a fresh perspective and approach to the team and I believe that I can push this program to the next level. I am really lucky to be here and can’t wait to get started.”
Since joining Canada West in 2014, the women's team has a combined record of 13-47-7 and just one playoff appearance. Last season, the women went 3-9-2, tied for last in the Pacific Division.
"It’s no secret that we are in one of the most competitive divisions in the country and from that perspective, it’s always going to be a challenge, every game is tough, but this is also what excites me about the role," added Pennington in the release. "The program is currently not at the level I feel it could be at and that makes it more challenging to attract the top players here, however one of the biggest strengths I bring to this position is the recruiting network I possess. I will be working very hard to bring the right players to this program to compliment the talent we already have here."
Pennington was also a professional player in the Sunderland AFC youth system. The 39-year-old native of Newcastle upon Tyne, England is filling the role vacated by Kamloops native Kelly Shantz.
"Everyone spoke highly of Mark’s ability to connect with student athletes and recommended him as the ideal choice to lead our program," said athletic director Curtis Atkinson in the release. "He was described as someone who will bring passion, positive energy, and enthusiasm to the program. I am excited to work with Mark and am pleased to welcome him to TRU and the WolfPack."