Kwan to make history
Candace Kwan will make history when she coaches the Northern Lights – Canada's national women's Australian rules football team – at the International Cup in 2020.
Kwan will become the first Canadian-born to coach the women's national team at the prestigious tournament.
She will also become the first Canadian coach of the Northern Lights at any tournament since Mike McFarlane coached the national women’s side in 2007 at the first 49th Parallel Cup.
As part of the Northern Lights since 2012, including the title-winning team of 2014, Kwan decided to transition into more of a coaching role after the 2017 tournament.
“I have always enjoyed coaching and with the announcement of Jason Arnold stepping down from the position, this was an opportunity for someone new to continue to build on the great work that Jason did and continue moving the program forward,” she said.
“This program has always had high expectations that have come from within the team.
“Regardless of what expectations other teams may have of our team, each player has set high goals for themselves and each other.”
Coaching isn’t a new concept for Kwan, who has been coaching basketball, volleyball and soccer teams since 2008.
This year she took on more of a coaching role at her local club – the High Park Demons – before she took the reins of Ontario’s women’s team for the 2018 nationals, steering them to the championship after an undefeated tournament.
Kwan will also be the first woman to coach a Canadian national side to an International Cup – a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.
“The women that have represented the Northern Lights are all highly driven and will continue to push themselves to get better individually and as a team,” she said.
“We will continue to improve our skills, fitness and game decision-making and not be complacent in what we have already accomplished.
“There are many people around the program that have lots of experience and expertise and utilizing these leaders will be important to the growth of this program.”
AFL Canada Manager of Football Development Penny Bartel said she was excited to see Kwan bring her own style to the Northern Lights.
"I saw first-hand the organization and leadership skills that Candace brought to the Ontario team at the AFL Canada National Championships," she said.
"She was able to unite a diverse set of women from many different home clubs across Ontario to win the national title with an undefeated record.
I know she will bring the same enthusiasm, energy and dedication to the national women's team as she leads the coaching team towards IC20."