How curiosity about the sport of rugby changed my life - An Introduction

My name is An and I've been an athlete for majority of my life and midway through my rugby career, I was introduced to coaching as a way I felt would best suit how I thought I could stay involved in the sport long after my playing career was finished. It started off as a way to give back to my sport which has since had a profound impact on my life and to (hopefully) inspire others to chase their passions and dreams. 

The introduction to the sport of rugby happened to me in the mid 90s, at a time where rugby wasn't that big in Canada and certainly women's rugby was still quite small. My curiosity about the sport lead me to seek out a club that had a junior level program and it was from that moment on that would help to shape the trajectory of where I would be in the sport 26 years later. 

As an athlete, I have played:

  • Club rugby (Division 1 and Premier Division) in 3 provinces within Canada as well Australia
  • Varsity rugby for the U of C Dinos
  • Provincial level rugby representing the AB Wolfpack
  • National level Rugby 7s representing my home country in Asia

As a coach, I have worked both in community/grassroots as well as the high performance level.

At the community level, I have helped start the girls rugby program at Forest Hill Collegiate in Toronto in 2011 as well as been a head coach at North Toronto Collegiate, worked with the junior girls program at Toronto Nomads RFC, both junior and senior level programs at Meraloma RFC in Vancouver and was recently the Head Coach of Capilano RFC Sr Women's Premier program in North Vancouver.

At the high performance level, I have worked for the Vancouver Rugby Union, BC Rugby, Rugby Canada and am the current Head Coach of McMaster University women's varsity rugby program.

2019 was arguably my most successful year as a coach, garnering myself 3 nominations for big awards including Rugby Canada Female Coach of the Year, North Shore Coach of the Year and the BC Sport Emerging Leader Award, all of which was very unexpected and such an honour. And while this seems like a lot of of things, my coachng career to get to this point has taken over 12 years of very hard work, often faced with a lot of barriers to entry as well as gender and racial inequality. So much so, that I wrote a think piece back in 2017 for this small blog I started and a lot of those things still hold true to this day.

I hope to be able to connect with you, find ways to bring down some of those barriers while tackling other issues that may face up and coming young coaches as well as inspire those to find their passions within sport and be able to utilise their voices for change.


SeeWhatSheCanDo 3 years

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing coaching journey with us @hoangthyan . Congratulations on your success, efforts and continued commitment to the sport of rugby at all levels of the game. We are grateful for the chance to help you showcase your coaching success as a female and as a person who is proud of her deep roots in the Asian community. #seewhatshecando


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