Women's Athletics

Soccer

Like several other sports programs at Western, women’s soccer began as part of the intra-university sports days organized as part of the expansion of women’s athletics at Western in the early 1930s that involved participation by University, Brescia, and Alma colleges.By the end of the 1930s, it had become a popular intramural sport at Western, and the senior soccer team coached by Doris Weston, an assistant in the Department of Physical Education, was well established. The team drew interested participants from the intercollegiate basketball team (also coached by Doris Weston in the late 1930s) including Mary Wong, Dorothy Rintoul and Dorothy Timpany.

Women's Senior Soccer, 1935

The 1935 senior team.

Women’s soccer remained a club at Western until 1983 when a group of interested students convinced basketball coach Mary Riezebos, a self described “soccer enthusiast” to become their faculty advisor and later head coach.Soccer was established as a Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union sport in 1987-88, and by this time Western women had already established quite a reputation. The team had brought the Ontario Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Association (OWIAA) championship title home in 1985-86 (the first year it was given permanent status as an ‘A’ sanctioned sport) after a perfect regular season. This established a tradition of success, and the team won the OWIAA championship again in 1986-87.

Women Playing Soccer

Soccer practice circa 1940s.

The strength of the program during its infancy in the 1980s continued throughout the 1990s under coaches Linda Whitehead (1990-91), Mary Riezebos (1991-96) and Sheri Kitching (1996-2000) with the Western women taking OWIAA championships in 1991 (also finishing fifth nationally in that year), 1994 and 1998. 

For further reading, see the history of men's soccer.

Women's Soccer, 1987

Soccer in 1987. Courtesy of UWO Student Council.