Coaching collegiate soccer was never a consideration in my mind. I honestly didn’t even think about coaching as a career because where I grew up, the norm is to work in a corporation or local businesses. Never the less, this opportunity initially turned out to be the most difficult thing I had ever done. I remember walking into the team meeting and as I introduced myself to these creatures as far as I knew it, I could feel the energy of curiosity and animosity. A few days later I called Mom crying and venting saying “I can’t do this. This team doesn’t trust me. How can I do this?” Every day was an effort. I had several Canadian players that definitely enjoyed testing me and my authority with them. The first half of the season was defined by trust and respect. Not only did I have to win the team over, but I had to win my boss and the other assistant over as well. It became evident that as a I struggled, I gained more confidence with this team and my decision to go coach the I despised but also envied for how good they were every time I played them in college. I grew to love this team. They were a family, and I realized that is why they were so successful. It’s not that they are better soccer players across the board, but that they cared so much for each other and to win that they fought with relentless determination and grit to achieve greatness.
The 2014-2015 LBC season stood out as one of the best in program history. I was sitting in my room, patiently waiting for the announcement of the NCAA Division II tournament bracket. We had something like a 2% chance of getting into the tournament, so the odds were no where near our favor. Before I knew it, W. V. Wesleyan College popped up on the screen. My body rushed with adrenaline as I shouted for joy! I couldn’t believe it! I immediately got into my jeep, drove to the library hoping some of players were there, ran inside and started yelling when I saw them. They all ran over and hugged me. Then we got yelled at by the library attendants..opps..but come on how could we not celebrate? I said “Don’t worry, I am their coach. It’s cool.” That lady was not impressed to say the least.
A thriller that ended with us winning in penalty kicks got us to the Sweet 16. Although we lost, there was no sadness. We achieved something great. A season that will go down in program history as one of the greatest, and did I mention one of the best experiences of my life thus far.
As spring time rolled around, I began wondering what new challenges I could pursue. I had a good place in coaching, I was somewhat confident in doing it, so I began some research. I was ready to seek new opportunities. My coworker and dear friend had mentioned to me about his friend in New Mexico who was looking for graduate assistant coach for this upcoming fall. I emailed the coach and got an interview in late May. Before I knew it, I had accepted the offer to become the graduate assistant coach for New Mexico State University Women’s Soccer. After getting my final acceptance letter in mid July, I moved out there two weeks later. Boy did reality hit when that day happened. Dad and I drove 1700 miles across the country to Las Cruces, NM. Where is that again? Oh you know, by El Paso Texas. Huh? Exactly…