Valerio ready to take Tommies to the top

Alex Valerio was a hard working student athlete, and she is looking for the same effort out of her new team.

“You can teach technical ability, but you can’t teach work rate.  The harder you work, the luckier you get,” Valerio said.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Alex Valerio is joining the women’s soccer team on the field this year as head coach.

Before coming to Fredericton, she was an Ivy League soccer player at Princeton University, where she was the senior team captain. During her university career she also played on the U19 Portugal women’s team, where she had the opportunity to participate in the UEFA European U20 championship qualifiers in Trofa, Portugal.

And the newest addition to her resume: Tommies soccer coach.

“I heard about the opportunity from Macky Singh, the old coach,” said Valerio.Soccer 3

Singh coached the team for five years previously and wanted someone with solid soccer playing ability and an excellent background to take over the team. Valerio had worked with Singh in the past and he was sure she was the one for the job.

Athletics director Mike Eagles also thinks Valerio is a great addition for STU.

“She is active in the development of young players in the province and is highly regarded in the soccer community,” said Eagles.

Valerio is introducing a new style of play based on possession, by having a 4-3-3 system. She believes a system like this will help the team finish plays and that goal-scoring will become second nature.

St. Thomas isn’t her first coaching gig. After she graduated from Princeton she helped with their recruiting team, where she located and tested NCAA D1 players. After Princeton, Valerio had a chance to be an assistant coach right across the street from STU, with the UNB Varsity Reds women’s soccer team.

Now that she is with the Tommies, her experience should help the team reach their future goals as well as bring in good recruitment classes in the upcoming years.

“I look for players with high soccer IQs… Players who ask the right questions and are always thinking about their movements with and without the ball,” said Valerio.

With her experience, Valerio knows what it’ll take to get the women’s team to a higher level.

“Building a championship team starts with building a culture of excellence and setting your standards from day one.  From there, you have to be willing to work and improve every day in order to have any chance of achieving your goals,” said Valerio.

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