Earlier this week we had the opportunity to sit down with Judy Tjanetis – Head Coach of the Under-16 Panthers.  She got to open up a little bit on the season and the team as they look to do the “Double” of Indoor and Outdoor Ontario Cup Champions.


Your North Mississauga Panthers are playing in the Ontario Cup Finals this Sunday, September 16th, after beating the Oshawa Kicks 2-1 in a close semi-final matchup.  They play King City Royals at 3pm, at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan, Ontario.


Describe the organization of a typical practice.

Judy: We first start off with a dynamic warm-up with lots of movement. My practices are primarily based on themes or phases of play so we’ll move from a dynamic piece to a functional/technical piece, then we lead into a small sided game and finish with a scrimmage.


What is some of your best memories from coaching?

Judy: My husband and I have been to an Ontario cup finals and won a provincials for Oakville. Also been to the Ontario summer games and went to the finals again. We went to the Ontario Cup Final with the same group we have now at U13 but lost. I’ve won it once and been to the finals five times.


What is the most rewarding part about being a coach?

Judy: When a player comes back to us years later and says thank you.


Which game during the tournament was the most challenging for your team and why? Toughest time against, trickiest matchup

Judy: The quarter final against Waterloo. We have a bit of a rivalry with them. Every game we played against them has been tough. We’ve played them during under 13 and beat them in the semis. They are always one goal games. We play different styles, we tend to struggle against them and they work hard but still we got the job done.


Which musician/artist does your team listen to the most together?

Judy: I don’t really know any of the artists they listen to these days so I’ll just say Drake.


How does your team get ready prior to games?

Judy: If it’s a big event, we’ll get the team there early in the change rooms and have them listen to loud music. Then we’ll go over board-work and what needs to happen in the game.  Then we send them out for a warm-up.


How do you get your team out of a bad spell during the game? How do you swing momentum back to your side?

Judy: Normally we’ll communicate with our captains and have them be positive.  We want to keep reinforcing positive statements which usually settles everyone down.  Then we get going again.


Who are your captains and why?

Judy: We have three captains. One is Alesha, she is our centre back and the other is Mara.  They’ve both been with the team since they were under 9, so they are very experienced players.  They’re sociable, work hard, and lead by example. The third captain is Zara, she came on board a little later but leads quietly. We get a little bit of everything from all of our captains.


Do you believe your team will win it all?

Judy: I do.