From the Bisons pitch to Sport Scientist: FKRM alumna Chloe Werle’s path to the World Cup
Werle, who wrapped up her Bisons goalkeeping career in 2016 and was a strength and conditioning coach, has stretched her experience to the international level
Chloe Werle grew up playing soccer, including playing varsity in university and dreaming of one day making the National Team. Once she realized that playing at the highest level wasn’t the path for her, she set her sights on working to support athletes in their quest to perform on the international stage.
A graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelors in Kinesiology, Chloe was hired by Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO), in partnership with Canada Soccer, as one of the first Sport Scientist Apprentices within the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSI Network). In her role she began working with the U17 National Excel Women’s Program and the U15-U18 Ontario Regional Excel (REX) Women’s Program based at Bill Crothers Secondary School in Markham. Currently, Chloe is completing her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences.
As a Soccer Scientist her day-to-day includes working with the athletes and coaches to ensure the players are progressing in their development and are fit for competition. This includes balancing their technical and tactical skillset with the physical side – strength and conditioning – load monitoring, heart rate analysis, and GPS analysis; their recovery program, and monitoring nutritional plans.
The CSIO Performance Services Apprentice program, a standardized 2 year apprenticeship for new sport science hires in the COPSI Network, allowed Chloe to receive mentorship from senior CSIO performance staff and provided her with the opportunity to work with an array of sports to build out her skill set and depth of knowledge. Chloe recently graduated from the apprenticeship program, one of the first to do so across Canada, along with her colleague Kiri Langford, another CSIO Strength and Conditioning apprentice. Both are now progressing to permanent employment at a higher level with CSIO.
Chloe with the team at a U17 Camp in 2019. Chloe was on staff for Team Canada at the 2018 U17 CONCACAF Tournament where the team finished 3rd and qualified for the 2018 FIFA U17 World Cup, and at the U17 World Cup in Uruguay, where the team finished a best-ever 4th place.
With a large contingent of the Senior National Team being from Ontario, Chloe has trained players including Adriana Leon when they are home. Chloe has also worked with the Senior National Women’s Team both through a series of mini camps held at CSIO and with the team at international matches, including the recent match against Mexico held in Toronto in May.
And then she got the call – the call of her dreams. Chloe was asked to join the support staff for the Senior National Women’s Team at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
“I was in a bit of shock when they called, I think I was so quiet and composed on the phone they had to check that I heard them. It hadn’t sunk in. But if they could have seen my face – I was elated.”
At the World Cup, Chloe will be an Assistant Sport Scientist working primarily with the non-starters. Her main role is to ensure the non-starters are getting the stimulus needed to be ready if they need to play.
Prior to joining the National Team in France for their final preparation for the World Cup, Chloe sat down to answer some questions about her work at CSIO and what this opportunity means to her.
Being a varsity soccer player and competing in the sport, what does it mean to you to be working with soccer and going to the World Cup?
Having played soccer in university and simultaneously watching the Women’s National Team develop and gain success over the years, as a passionate soccer fan, and as a woman, it is truly a dream come true to work in a sport that I love. To work with the Youth Teams and see their talent and maturity progression toward the Senior National Team is amazing. And now to work with the Senior Team too – it is surreal! Even though I didn’t get to play at the highest level, I now get to work with them and go to the World Cup.
How did being a part of the Performance Services Apprentice Program at CSIO, and now graduating to be a full Sport Scientist, prepare you for this role?
Being part of the Apprentice program was a fantastic opportunity. It allowed me to get my feet wet and learn so much about my role as a Sport Scientist. In the program I was able to work closely with a mentor, our Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach and had exposure to working with and supporting other sports, not just soccer. This gave me a wider perspective on being a Sport Scientist and provided learnings that have helped me to solidify my role and apply this knowledge to my work with soccer. It’s a great parallel – graduating from being an apprentice at the same time I am having more opportunity with the Senior National Team.
What do you hope to learn/experience while being part of the support team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
Since I am not the lead Sport Scientist at the World Cup, I look forward to learning how to be helpful and useful in a support role. I want to do as much as possible to assist the team and find the best way to work in this environment, not to overlap or add to the noise surrounding the team. This experience will allow me to find the balance and mature as a sport professional. I look forward to taking back these learnings and applying them to my work with the youth teams.
What is your favourite moment working with Women’s Soccer?
I have two! The first is at the U17 World Cup when Canada beat Germany to advance to the quarterfinals. It was such a well-played match by the girls, and they were so excited and happy, but they also saw the German players devastated by the loss. The girls went over and helped pick the German players up off the pitch and patted them on the back. It showed incredible professionalism and sportsmanship. It was a very proud moment and a definite highlight for me. My other favourite moment is seeing the U17 players I work with graduate toward the Senior National Team. Players like Jayde Riviere, who I have worked with at CSIO as part of the Ontario REX Program is now part of Canada’s World Cup Team in France. To see their hard work and progression is a beautiful thing.