A long-time staple of the Holland College Hurricanes women’s soccer program is coming home.
Laura Younker, who played for the Hurricanes from 2012-15, will return to Holland College this fall as an apprentice in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) female apprentice coach program.
The Charlottetown native said she’s thrilled about returning to her old stomping grounds
“I had so many mentors that played such an important role during my time at Holland College in all aspects, athletics, in the classroom and throughout the student body,” said Younker. “To be able to come and give my time in a coaching role, I hope to be able to provide the support and guidance to the girls just like many did for me.”
A co-captain for two of her three seasons, Younker enjoyed great success as a Hurricane, winning an Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) championship in 2013 and competing in two nationals, including the 2012 championship hosted by Holland College in Cornwall.
Her success carried over to the campus as she was a three-time recipient of the CCAA national scholar award, as well as having the highest average of any Holland College female student-athlete in 2013-14.
She was also active in the Holland College community, serving as vice-president of the Holland College student union in 2013-14. The same year she received the BellAliant Achievement Award (now known as the Citizenship Award) for demonstrating outstanding athletic ability, academic excellence, and qualities of leadership, citizenship and community involvement.
Hurricanes head coach Kris McKinnon, an assistant coach for Younker in 2012-13 before assuming head coaching duties the following season, is Younker’s mentor on the sideline this season.
“Laura was a dedicated student athlete who excelled in the classroom and on the field,” said McKinnon. “She has played five years in the ACAA and understands the demands on athletes. Laura’s impact on our program as a coach will be invaluable. She is a proven winner who will demand the best from each student-athlete.”
Younker, who later finished her career at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, N.S., is one of 12 participants in this year’s program and the only one to come from an ACAA school. Participants will be monitored throughout the season via progress reports.
“I think this program is a great stepping stone for women who are looking to stay involved with the sport they love. It’s a chance to get exposed to a coaching role while having your mentor coach there with you to lean on for direction and support.” said Younker. “This means the world to me. For someone who played in the ACAA for five seasons, I am very grateful to come back and be involved again.”
The women’s soccer Hurricanes open the regular season against the Dal-AC Rams at home Saturday, Sept. 8. Game time is 2 p.m. in Cornwall.