Sports Academy Administration

Diane Nelson

Diane Nelson

Director of Instruction

Diane Nelson, Director of Instruction, is founder of West Vancouver Schools Premier Academy programs.

Chosen as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals in 2012 by the Learning Partnership, Diane was selected for her ability to communicate a compelling vision, to engage the community by consistently bringing together a highly knowledgeable and competent team of teachers, coaches, instructors, and other community members to work together to deliver quality programs for student-athletes.  Diane is an exceptional leader, one who continues to lay the foundation for the success of her students and the betterment of the community through a strong and vibrant public education system.

Twice nominated (2002 & 2012) for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the categories of Entrepreneurship, as well as Education, Training & Development, Diane has been honoured for her achievements that contribute to the well-being and future of the community. The YWCA Women of Distinction Award is recognized as one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for women.

diane-nelson-awardWith over 30 years experience in education, as both a teacher and administrator, Diane has obtained her Bachelor of Education, Diploma in Counseling Psychology, and Master’s in Educational Administration, all from the University of British Columbia.

As a MindUP Trainer, Diane has provided numerous workshops and in-service for teachers to help them deliver an evidence-based curriculum that helps foster social and emotional awareness, enhance psychological well-being, and promote academic success. Diane inspires educators to create an optimistic classroom that promotes and develops mindful attention to oneself and others, tolerance of differences, and the capacity of each student to grow as a human being and a learner.

An educational consultant for the Vancouver Canucks’ Community Partnership Program since 2005, Diane is the creator and author of the character education program called Fin’s Friends. The program was written for teachers to help them provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to enhance ethical and responsible behaviour. This valuable classroom resource for teachers assists them with the teaching of social responsibility and character building. The program, written for Grades K-3, is being taught by primary teachers in over 3800 classrooms around the province. To date, the program is being used in over 35% of all K-3 classrooms in B.C. Diane last presented the program Nationally to educators at the Canada Character Conference held in Abbotsford, B.C. October 2015.

diane-nelson-w-gordon-campbellDiane’s leadership style is marked by her entrepreneurial spirit. Her accomplishments are numerous including founding, owning and operating the Vancouver Griffins, the first women’s professional hockey team in Western Canada, a member of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). The team featured Olympians such as Nancy Drolet, Cammi Granato, Shelley Looney and Courtney Kennedy. In November, 2010, Cammi Granato was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Many of her Griffins’ artifacts are on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame, including the signing of her first pro contract with the Griffins’ organization. In 2002, the BC Sports Hall of Fame recognized Diane for her achievements in sport as part of an exclusive group of 35 outstanding women leaders and legends.

A long time athlete, she has competed in numerous sports including half marathons, 10km runs, triathlons, dragon boating, field hockey, figure skating, bodybuilding and swimming. Some highlights include 6 gold medals at the 1986 World Lifeguard Championships and Miss Vancouver, 1983 Bodybuilding Championships.

Diane’s entire career has been about giving students an opportunity to better themselves and realize their hopes and aspirations. She firmly believes that enthusiastic and thoughtful guidance is the best way to assist our youth on the path that they choose.

Paul Eberhardt

Paul Eberhardt

Vice Principal Academies

A Vancouver native Paul began his coaching career in 1982 while he was still a student at Magee Secondary and continued coaching as he got both his Bachelor of Physical Education and Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. He also earned his Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2005. He began teaching in the Richmond School District in 1989 where he spent 28 years prior to moving to the West Vancouver School District in 2018 to take on the job of Vice Principal for the Academy Programs.

During his career Coach Ebe has coached just about every sport but his main passion is coaching basketball which he has coached at every level including High School, College, Provincial Teams and the Canadian National Team. Presently Paul is the head coach of the Langara Falcons men’s team and the West Vancouver Highlanders grade 9 boys team. Paul has been recognized as one of top coaches in the Country as he was selected as the 2013 Canadian Colleges men’s Basketball Coach of the Year. He has also been selected by Sport BC as the Coach of the Year in 2014 and Basketball BC has named him the College Coach of the Year in 2013 & 2014 and the High School Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2011. Paul’s colleagues also recognized him as the PACWEST Coach of the Year in 2013, 2014 & 2017 as well as Richmond Coach of the Year in 2011 and the Lower Mainland Coach of the Year in 2007.

Paul has been chosen to lead our BC Provincial teams on numerous occasions winning five gold medals and one silver at the Western Canada Games and one silver medal and three bronze at the Canadian National Championships. Paul was also selected to be an assistant coach with the Canadian Men’s National Basketball Team from 2000 to 2004.

Paul is also one of only two coaches in the Country to have won both a High School Provincial Championship which he did in 2011 with the Palmer Griffins and a Canadian College National Championship in 2014 with the Langara Falcons.

Paul has also been very actively involved in athletic administration as he was an Athletic Director for over 20 years and he has also served on the Board of Directors for the Nighthoops Program which works with at-risk youth in Vancouver. Paul has also worked with Basketball BC on a number of occasions serving as the chair for a variety of elite programs and he was the longest serving President of the BC High School Boys Basketball Association serving from 2014 to 2018. For all his volunteer work in high school sports BC School Sports recognized Paul with a Special Merit award in 2018. Presently, Paul is the head coach of the Langara Falcons men’s team and the West Vancouver Highlanders Junior boys team.

Tara Ledingham

Tara Ledingham


Tara was raised in West Vancouver and attended UBC and SFU, graduating with a double major in Sociology and Communications.

Since graduating, Tara has been employed in the human resources field for over twenty years.  She initially worked as a recruitment specialist for Medical Recruiters International Canada, placing medical professionals in hospital and clinic settings in the United States.

After taking time off to raise her two children, Tara was hired by Mackay CEO Forums as a meeting and event planner before starting with West Vancouver Schools in 2016.

Tara has also enjoyed contract work with BC Children’s Hospital and the Crystal Ball Foundation and was registrar for the North Shore Inline Hockey league.

Being a part of the West Vancouver community has always been important to Tara and she spent several years managing her children’s sports teams and volunteering at the school level.


Mr. Jesse Symons

Mr. Jesse Symons

Consultant/Head Coach

Coach Jesse Symons is currently Head Coach, Women’s Soccer at the University of British Columbia.

With a graduate degree in technical leadership, a CSA A Coaching License, as well as a teaching degree, Jesse Symons brings a variety of outstanding knowledge, skills & experiences spanning over 20 years.

Mr. Symons was in West Vancouver Schools for 10 years as a former WVS teacher as well as working together with Diane Nelson to launch the Premier Soccer Academy in 2003 as Head Coach and will now oversee the programming for this Academy as well as provide students an outstanding coaching staff. The priority and commitment of the coaching staff is an individualized focus to meet each student’s needs and goals.

During Mr. Symons’ time as a coach, he has run the Whitecaps REX/Girls Elite program and Vancouver Whitecaps Academy Centre, has 7 years coaching different provincial boys & girls’ programs, was the Girls’ Technical Director of Mountain United & the NSGSC Technical Director. Currently, he is the Manager of Player & Coach Development for Fusion FC as well as mentioned above, the Head Coach of the UBC Women’s Soccer Team.

Nick Koev

Nick Koev

Assistant Coach

Nick is a dedicated & highly experienced professional soccer trainer & coach with a proven track record of producing successful collegiate & professional athletes.

With over 20 years’ experience in the role as Academy Director in Calgary, Alberta, Nick Koev has moved to Vancouver to join West Vancouver Schools Premier Soccer Academy program.  In Calgary, Coach Koev has tremendous experience working with all ages of players with two of the major clubs (Calgary SWU and Calgary Blizzard).

Highlights include:

CSKA Sofia – Professional player – youth & men’s team for 5 years
Extensive knowledge & experience developing youth players to the highest level with a focus on individual technical development
Successfully mentored & coached more than 200 athletes who have played or are now playing at the collegiate & professional levels globally



National A License

Canada Soccer Association


National B License

Canada Soccer Association



Masters Degree in Coaching & Education

National Sports University

Sofia, Bulgaria



2019 – Present

Academy Director

Calgary Blizzard Soccer Club

Calgary, Alberta



Identifying strengths & abilities of each player to develop individual & group technical sessions

Deliver team & individual technical programs

Collaborate with other technical staff & coaches to develop teams


Technical/Academy Director

South West United Soccer Club

Calgary, Alberta


Role                       Developed & implemented Club Technical


With other Technical Staff & Club coaches, organized & managed teams

Recruited, trained, provided feedback & mentored Club staff & coaches

Maintained current knowledge of Local, Provincial, and National rules, regulations and trends

Worked with communities to offer and implement school soccer programs

Ran technical session which focused on individual skill development & ball mastery in a team environment

Established relationships with College and University coaches – which facilitated a pathway for student-athletes to pursue post-secondary opportunities


Nick’ Soccer Academy



Owned & operated a private soccer academy focused on individual skill development and ball mastery

Developed and executed a variety of physical conditioning programs focused on achieving maximum athletic performance

Partnered with clubs across the city to deliver players with advanced technical skills and knowledge

Provided training direction, mentorship, encouragement, and motivation to athletes in preparation for games, tours, and competitive events

Owen McBride

Owen McBride

Assistant Coach

Owen is currently a member of the Simon Fraser University Men’s Soccer Team and is Founder and Owner of a private coaching company. Owen has been featured on Global News for his ability to meet players where they are at, providing individualized programming. One of his key goals is to help players develop, but while having fun.

Owen prides himself on connecting with athletes, challenging them providing a safe environment, one in which players are motivated and excited to arrive to each training session to continuously improve and a desire to get better. Owen was a member of the Whitecaps Residency program.

Sophie Damian

Sophie Damian

Assistant Coach

Academic Studies

4th Year UBC student in Faculty of Urban Forestry, with a minor in Green Space Management. September 2022: Sophie will continue her education at UBC moving into her 5th year

Member of UBC Women’s Varsity Soccer Team

Along with her rigorous academic studies, Sophie is completing her 4th season as a member of the UBC Women’s Varsity Soccer Team coached by Head Coach, Mr. Jesse Symons.

Previous Soccer Experience

  • Selected to Mountain United Football Club
  • Member of the Whitecaps REX program
  • Member of BC Provincial Team program
  • Member of 2 Canadian National team ID camps
  • Continuing to be (going into 5th year) as a member of the UBC Women’s Varsity Soccer Team

 Other Highlights:

  • Coached Hope & Health Program
  • Coached North Shore Girls Soccer
  • Participated in UBC ID Camps
  • Coached both youth and very young (3-year-old & 4-year-old) children

Sophie is an enthusiastic coach who is passionate about supporting players at all levels, skills, and abilities.

Ella Sunde

Ella Sunde

Assistant Coach

Ella was born and raised on the North Shore in Deep Cove.

  • Ella grew up playing for Mountain United FC
  • 2018 Won a National Championship & BC Soccer Provincial Program
  • Ella’s love for the sport of soccer brought her many experiences. She has coached with the NSGSC Academy, the Soccer 4 Everyone program as well as the Hope and Health organization.
  • Ella currently attends the University of British Columbia (UBC) where she is a member of the UBC Thunderbirds Women’s Soccer Team. When not training, Ella is studying Sciences.
  • Ella’s educational plan is to work in the medical field. She strongly believes in the importance of staying physically active for one’s overall well-being and values striving for a well-balanced lifestyle.
Sam Boppart

Sam Boppart

Goalkeeper Coach



2022  National Youth Licence – Goalkeeping (CSA)
2021  National ‘C’ Coaching Licence (CSA)
2020  Mental Health First Aid Standard (MHCC)
2020  FIFA Diploma in Football Medicine
2020  Making Ethical Decisions (ViaSport)
2018 – 2023 Bachelor of Environment: Resource & Environmental Management (SFU)
2018 – 2020 SFU Men’s Varsity Soccer Team
2016  Soccer for Life – BC Soccer
2016  Canadian Red Cross – CPR level A
2013 – 2018 Graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Secondary School

BC Soccer
Goalkeeper Coach
2021 – Present

Worked with provincial level youth goalkeepers as they prepare for Canada Games in Summer 2022

Langara College Women’s Soccer Team:
Goalkeeper Coach
2020 – 2022

Developed the teams goalkeepers while also working with the rest of the team to create a cohesive group of players.

Managed the goalkeeper’s individual development plans.

Worked with the rest of the staff to create a strong and promising program.

Made use of video footage to provide feedback on technique and on needed improvements

Vancouver Whitecaps FC:
Goalkeeper Academy Coach
2019 – Present

Focused on developing Whitecaps Residency and REX goalkeepers.

Worked with high-performance goalkeepers associated with clubs across the Lower Mainland.

Mountain United FC:
2006 Boys Assistant Coach
2020 – Present

Player-centred approach in order to support each player’s development while adjusting to their needs during their transition into a high school lifestyle.

Intake Academy Goalkeeper and Player Coach:
2019 – Present

Responsible for ensuring that all goalkeepers understand new terms and definitions given to them while critiquing their form and adjusting it to the proper technique to prevent injury and increase success rate.

Responsible for finding the top prospects among players from across the lower mainland to place them onto a rostered spot for the MUFC Intake team.

2005 Boys Assistant Coach
2018 – Present

Player-centered approach to support each player’s development while adjusting to their needs during their transition into a high school lifestyle.

Simon Smith Goalkeeper Academy:
Goalkeeper Coach

Focused on developing goalkeepers of all skill levels between the ages of 9 to 17.

Worked with high-performance goalkeepers associated with a variety of clubs across the Lower Mainland.

Klaus Heck

Klaus Heck

WVS Supervising Teacher

Klaus taught Physical Education in the Vancouver School District for 33 years, serving as Department Head for 23 of those years. In addition, he was Principal and Vice-Principal, Vancouver School District Summer School, was on the Board of Directors for BC High School Track & Field and was named to the BC High School Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2007.

Klaus was also head coach for five consecutive Vancouver City Championship teams at Point Grey Secondary School in Vancouver.

Klaus joined the WVS Premier Sports Academies in 2008 and has been the supervising teacher for many of the academy programs: Ice Hockey, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Field Hockey, Tennis, Rugby, and Table Tennis.

During his time in West Vancouver Schools, Klaus has coached both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at various grade levels.

Klaus is past President of BC High School Boys Basketball Association where he initiated the 20-Team format that has been used for the AAA tournament for two decades and launched the original slam dunk and three-point shot contests.

Klaus has been recognized as a Lifetime Honourary Member by the Association and is currently Chairman of the Past Presidents’ Association.

Klaus obtained his Bachelor of Education and his Master of Education specializing in Administration from Western Washington University, where he played basketball and competed in track & field.