Field Hockey Canada is excited to announce the appointment of Shiaz Virjee as the Head Coach of the Junior Women’s National Team for their summer schedule. The National Junior Team is fresh off a training camp in Victoria, BC and will embark on a busy summer season of training and competition led by Virjee.
Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Virjee is a decorated Canadian field hockey player and coach. His 35+ year involvement in the game is highlighted by playing and coaching at the club, provincial, national and international level. He has coached at the World Cup and Olympic Games and was the head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds men’s team for 13 years.
After training camp at the end of May, Virjee said the junior women’s team is physically in great shape to compete, but they still have a lot to improve on. He is looking forward to the challenge of working with the dedicated athletes and is excited to see the improvement and results on the field.
“I hope to motivate, inspire and teach skills and game play that will take our Junior Women’s National Team to achieve success,” Virjee said. “While the learning curve was steep at training camp, all the athletes worked hard to learn the new structure of play and set plays.”
The team is currently training in Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island in preparation for their upcoming homes series against Chile’s U21 National Team. The added training and competition exposure is part of the longer-term goal to prepare these athletes for junior and senior international play. Senior Women’s National Team Head Coach, Giles Bonnet, said Virjee’s experience will be invaluable for the young athletes and he expects him to be a great fit with the junior women’s squad this summer.
“It’s a privilege that we are able to have someone of Shiaz’s experience and knowledge to be leading the Junior National Team,” Bonnet said. “In Shiaz we have a coach who is very well positioned to continue the excellent work that was done before by Steph Andrews and build on this to take the team to another level in their development.”
After their home series against Chile, the team will take off to Antwerp, Belgium for a six-nation tournament featuring Netherlands, India, Great Britain, Ireland and Belgium. Virjee said that these opportunities are really valuable for the development of young athletes as they start their career.
“Both the Chile Series and 6 Nations Tournament are very exciting opportunities for our Junior team,” Virjee said. “Our athletes need the high level of competition to assess our strengths and improve our learnings.”
Follow along with the junior national team this summer on Field Hockey Canada’s website and social media channels.