After stepping away from the sidelines for a few years seasons, Soutchai Quangtakoune returned to the Regina Cougars program as an assistant coach in 2014. For the 2022 season, the team is welcoming a new coach to the program, Quangtakoune’s daughter Alyx Paulson.
September 23, 2022 (Regina, SK) – Since 2014, the University of Regina women’s rugby team has been under the leadership of former national team player Julie Foster and Soutchai Quangtakoune. For the 2022 season, the team is welcoming a new coach to the program, Quangtakoune’s daughter Alyx Paulson.
“It kind of happened seamlessly,” said Quangtakoune. “Alyx came to watch one of our games and was on the sidelines with us giving instructions and helpful tips to the players. It was just a natural fit when she asked if she could help us out.”
From a player-coach relationship to years of playing together at the senior women’s level in Saskatchewan, Paulson and Quangtakoune now patrol the sidelines together as mother and daughter with the Regina Cougars.
“Being able to grow and develop the sport of rugby together for women is a great feeling,” Paulson stated. “There is still a strong push to grow the game for women and very rarely do you see mothers and daughters coaching.”
Paulson grew up surrounded by her mother’s Rugby Saskatchewan memorabilia, with the thought that she would one day take after her and lace up the cleats. At the age of 13, Paulson first stepped onto a rugby field at Fallbrook High School in California, where her family was living at the time, with her mom as her head coach.
“It was easy to walk on the pitch and be coached by my mom because the trust was already there. She knows who I am as a person and knows what I need as an athlete better than any other coach I have had.”
The family moved back to Saskatchewan in 2010 and Paulson continued to play at the high school level until she decided to continue her rugby journey with the Regina Rage, a local senior women’s club. After years of coaching her daughter, Quangtakoune finally experienced the feeling of pulling on the same jersey and joining her on the field as teammates with the Rage.
“It's a very unique experience. Setting up plays together and running down the pitch is an incredible feeling. The trust we have with one another is unmatched to other relationships I have with my teammates,” Paulson expressed.
More recently, younger daughter Emma Paulson has also began playing rugby alongside Alyx and their mother, the latter assuming the roles of both coach and player for the Rage.
“Highlights of playing alongside my daughters include winning city and provincial championships but the standout moment with them was our family try. I had a breakaway and passed off to Emma, who then passed off to Alyx and we scored,” explained Quangtakoune.
Emma has also given back to the community through coaching, helping facilitate many of the mini and junior rugby programs organized by Rugby Saskatchewan, something that Alyx and Soutchai have also volunteered their time to over the years working for the provincial union.
“Once I was done university, I knew I wanted to be more involved in rugby other than just being a player. Coaching just seemed like the next step,” said Paulson.
Quangtakoune added: “I love coaching because I get to see the growth of these young players on and off the field. The comradery, support and sisterhood that comes with the sport is unheard of.”
Now the newest adventure for the rugby-crazed family takes them to the University of Regina where they will continue to make a positive impact on women’s rugby in Saskatchewan.