After 10 years as the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades women’s soccer head coach, MEI grad Rob Giesbrecht is moving on.
Giesbrecht has accepted a position as manager of soccer operations at Langley’s Trinity Western University.
The announcement was made Saturday, July 26, in separate statements release by both UFV and TWU.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have had to lead the Cascades women’s soccer program for the past ten years,” Giesbrecht stated. “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish. I will cherish the relationships I made with my colleagues and I will fondly remember the special times with my team. I have been blessed to have so many incredible student-athletes in our program and I’m thankful that I have had the chance to coach them at UFV.”
Giesbrecht led the women’s program to the Canada West playoffs in nine out of his 10 years and compiled a record of 59-46-29. The team’s most recent deepest playoff run occurred in 2014, when the Cascades earned a CW silver medal and placed fourth overall in the country.
He returned to Abbotsford in 2010 to take the reins of his hometown team after a five-year stint coaching at Concordia University (Seward, Nebraska). In his first season at UFV, he guided Cascades women’s soccer to a breakthrough campaign – the program’s first-ever Canada West playoff berth was followed in quick succession by the program’s first Canada West championship, and the Cascades went on to win bronze at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (now known as U SPORTS) national championship tournament. Both the Canada West title and the CIS national medal were firsts for UFV across all sports.
“Rob had a solid 10-year run coaching the Cascades, with the highlight in 2010,” stated Steve Tuckwood, UFV director of athletics and campus recreation. “We wish him well as he heads into the next stage of his career, and thank him for his efforts on behalf of UFV.”
Turnover in the Cascades coaching ranks has been high in recent years, with new coaches in men’s basketball and men’s and women’s volleyball since 2019.
Giesbrecht, who was the head coach of the University of the Fraser Valley’s women’s soccer team for the last 10 years, joins Trinity Western women’s soccer coach Graham Roxburgh with the program as the lead assistant coach while also focusing on player identification and development and also helping lead the Spartans girls soccer academy and junior varsity program.
“Rob and I share a similar vision for desiring to make programs better and players better,” Roxburgh said. “He has a skillset that complements mine and with his experience as both a head coach and previously working as an assistant, he is an incredibly valuable addition to our program. Rob has obviously done really well developing a program over the last 10 years that has become one of our main competitors. He has a vision for expanding our program in different areas and I’m excited to see how we can continue to build our women’s soccer program at Trinity Western.
“He has Spartan in him, as he helped establish our program and was part of our first national championship. I’m thrilled to work with someone who is passionate about continuing to grow our program.”
Giesbrecht attended Trinity Western from 1991 to 1996, playing on the Spartans men’s soccer team for four years (1991-1995) before helping coach the men’s team in his final semester in the fall of 1996. In 1999, he returned to TWU as an assistant coach with the women’s soccer program, helping coach the Spartans until 2005, including the national championship winning team in 2004.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Trinity Western,” Giesbrecht said. “It’s always felt like home for me. I have so many special memories there as a student-athlete and as a coach. My time coaching with Graham in the building stages of the program were so special and I look forward to working with Graham in the future and helping the team strive to reach their potential and get after pursuing that sixth national championship.”
Giesbrecht graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from TWU, majoring in Physical Education with a concentration in Business Administration. He earned a second undergraduate degree in Education from the University of British Columbia (1998) and a Master’s degree in Education from Concordia University (Seward, Nebraska), where he also coached from 2006 to 2010.
After a five-year stint coaching at Concordia University, he took over head coaching duties with UFV in 2010 and in his first year, he guided the Cascades women’s soccer team to the program’s first Canada West championship and a bronze medal at the national championship tournament. In 2014, Giesbrecht steered the Cascades to a Canada West silver medal and a fourth-place finish at the national championship. UFV’s women’s soccer team qualified for the Canada West playoffs in nine of Giesbrecht’s 10 seasons, and his teams posted a record of 59-46-29 in conference play.
Giesbrecht is joining a TWU program that finished atop the Canada West table during the 2019 regular season with a 12-1-1 record. Over the last 10 years, Roxburgh’s side has posted a combined regular season record of 105-14-15, while winning two national championships and a total of six national medals, as well as five conference championships and nine conference medals. All told, the Spartans women’s soccer team has won five national championship and eight conference championships since entering U SPORTS in 1999.