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Cover Story

Celebrating Womanhood: Jasmine Mander

By Petrina D'Souza, 27 Mar, 2020
  • Celebrating Womanhood: Jasmine Mander

Jasmine Mander is a Vancouver Whitecaps FC Youth Coach & UBC Student


What does being a woman mean to you?

It’s an exciting time to be a woman right now, new paths are being forged in the world of politics and policy, science and sport — Christine Sinclair just became the all-time leading goal scorer in international soccer, we have women coaching in the NHL and NFL — and not just ticking a box, they are excellent in their line of work! Pursuing your passion in any field feels as possible as ever — be good at what you do and the limits seem endless.

Tell me about a milestone that defines your journey.

I was 18 years old when I tore my anterior cruciate ligament, one week prior to starting the season for the University of British Columbia (UBC) — after having surgery, I re-tore the ligament again. Although I would eventually recover and continue my soccer career, this was an incredibly important chapter in my life. I was introduced to Physical Therapy, a profession I would later pursue. As a person, I learned about gratitude. I was grateful for sport and health in a way that I hadn’t appreciated before. I began to enjoy big and small wins — if we had lost a soccer game, I had a new perspective that being able to compete at all was a privilege. I had a new appreciation for the strength of others who had faced some kind of adversity in their life, a compassion I hadn’t felt before — all aspects that I hope shape the way I practice as a Physiotherapist.

Did you ever face a challenge simply because you were a woman?

I think it’s easy to pull the female card and decide you aren’t getting an opportunity because of your gender. I think it’s important to ask myself if I was good enough at the task at hand to receive the opportunity — sometimes I have been – but sometimes, I probably had doors opened because I was female, I am not naive to that. Sometimes the most qualified man doesn’t get the job either. I’m learning that it’s more important to focus on what you do with the opportunity than how you got it. I’m often asked if coaching boys is more challenging for me than coaching girls — it’s the same sport, and players want their coaches to treat them well, and offer knowledge that will help them improve – a good coach, male or female, can do that. I think these challenges are overcome by being even better than you need to be at whatever you’re facing.

What project are you working on right now?

I am hoping 2020 is an exciting year. I should be finishing my Masters in Physical Therapy and graduating from UBC. I plan on continuing to pursue a career in coaching high performance soccer as well through the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and BC Soccer.

What’s your advice for women who wish to follow your path?

My advice to others would be to be better than you need to be at your trade, be excellent at what you are doing, be willing to be the least knowledgeable person in the room, and go out of your way to help others. Work hard, be nice — you’ll be surprised how often paths do cross again, and ask for what you want — some doors need to be knocked more than once. Have a dream, work backwards from it — ask yourself what kind of experience that person in that dream job would need and then work towards becoming that candidate. Most importantly, always make time for friends and family — I’m starting to think having fun might just be the gasoline that fuels it all.

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