Coaching took Matthew Aslett from underdog to Top Dog.

  • January 24, 2023

CAO’s Empowering Stories from Behind the Bench – January 2023

“I love coaching … if you build good relationships, take an interest and find out what motivates people, you can have a huge impact on a person.”

By David Grossman

When he was a youngster, Matthew Aslett was captivated with the world of sports.

For Aslett, whenever there was an opportunity, he would be running cross country races through hills and valleys for his school, experimenting with curling, or just finding ways to stay physically fit and have fun.

Fondness was, and still is, a sport that was believed to have started somewhere in the 12th century in England – soccer. For him, it became a priority playing at the club level and when he attended St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Oakville.

Aslett recalls once dreaming of what it would be like to step on to the field as a professional player. He would learn that dreams are good and often enhance creativity as well as health benefits.

The days of becoming a soccer legend would be replaced by other fortuitous opportunities.

Competency, skillfulness, and efficiency would, one by one, become part of his daily lifestyle.

It would all lead to something even more gratifying – and, for him, many moments to have a bigger impact than scoring a goal.

Passionate about almost everything, Aslett’s goal would become more personal. That of providing leadership, training, and guidance. Aware of his commitment to society, his journey through life focuses as an educator and coach.

It was Thomas Monson, an American religious leader, and author, who had something to say about relationships.

“When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are,” said Monson. “When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.”

Now in his mid-20’s, Aslett fits those words.

A scholar in many aspects of the word, he’s a teacher, an official and adores coaching.

Aslett is also the recipient of many awards including a prestigious coaching excellence award presented in 2021 by the Coaches Association of Ontario and Hydro One. The citation recognizes the huge amount of time devoted to improving individuals whom they coach.

“I love coaching,” he said. “If you build good relationships, take an interest and find out what motivates people, you can have a huge impact on a person.”

Aslett attributes his infatuation with coaching and educating, to the mentorship he received from his parents and teachers. People, he said in a telephone conversation, who constantly inspired and encouraged him to participate, get involved and contribute to the community in a positive way.

Well educated in areas that range from business and commerce to science and management, there’s also the world of education, leadership and policy that has him continuing a thirst for knowledge. With educational degrees from Queen’s University and Niagara University, as well as studying at Bocconi University in Italy, Aslett is pursuing a Doctorate – and doing it while teaching high school students in Burlington.

Oh yes, he’s coaching soccer, too.

His initiation to coaching – something he sees as listening, understanding, viewing with accuracy and thoughtfulness, and then garnishing with feedback for development started when he was a student in grade 9.

“I wasn’t that superstar athlete, so I had wanted to be the underdog that would motivate and mold others to becoming great people,” he said. “When I was 14 years old, it was all about winning, but then learned that the real victory was individual growth.”

Aslett got a wake-up call as a teenager. After contributing to his team making the league soccer championship, he wasn’t chosen to the starting roster. In fact, he never set foot on the field. It was a final that his team, favored to win, instead tasted defeat.

“There were better guys, who had played competitive sports, and that left me with the perception that I just wasn’t good enough,” said Aslett, who recalled his parent’s encouragement to learn from experiences and never quit. “As I look back, winning is great, but at that level I believe everyone should be involved in all capacities of the game and taste the experience of competing in a final.”

That experienced changed Aslett’s awareness and attitude as a coach.

“When I coach, I wear the hat of an educator,” said Aslett, the recipient of a 2022 award for excellence in teacher preparation. “My job is to be a role model and mentor. Coaches can have a positive and negative impact. I’d like to hope that always building on communication, I want to make experiences better for people.”

Humble in many ways, Aslett understands that when one displays personal respect, it leads to others showing mutual respect. He focusses on approaching every day with inspiration leaving students – in the classroom, and on the soccer field, with a clear message.

“Just do your best, work hard and motivate yourself to be that much better each day,” he said. “Where I am today is my biggest reward, it’s a special responsibility that allows me to do what I enjoy. In doing that, I have an impact on helping others set goals, planning a path of action and recognizing improvement.”


“Winning is great, but at that level I believe everyone should be involved in all capacities of the game and taste the experience of competing in a final.”

David Grossman is a veteran multi award-winning Journalist and Broadcaster with some of Canada’s major media, including the Toronto Star and SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN, and a Public Relations professional for 45+ years in Canadian sports and Government relations.