LH: With 20 years of coaching experience, it’s hard to pick out just one moment. It’s usually about people more than anything. People resonate with me more than anything else, it’s not about winning the game or a plastic trophy, but about the experience more than anything.
This past season, I worked as an assistant coach for Paideia High School here in Georgia. I didn’t realize how good of an experience it was until we had our banquet, when the three captains got up to speak and said “This is the first time we’ve been coached by females, and were able to be involved in an all female environment. We had a safe space and had such a positive experience.” That season was everything that you would want it to be, it was positive, they had a great time, they asked questions and they were learning. It didn’t resonate at first that these players had such a positive experience because of the culture that we established, but it was truly rewarding to be a part of their journey.
In my prior job as the Executive Director of Orlando City Youth Soccer, it was a really hard experience, but it was a really good experience to build a soccer club. With the help of a team of people, we started a soccer club from scratch, and now I get to see the soccer club today and see what it has become. I get to watch players playing on the Orlando City professional teams who started in our academy as little kids, and witness them reach their full potential in the game. I’ve also seen those players go on to become doctors, or scientists, or lawyers. They’ve all done great things after being involved with the academy.
My last job was challenging because I had to influence and inspire people to believe in a vision that they couldn’t see yet. That’s what I learned in part of my last eight years working with Orlando City. Everybody is passionate about this game but can you translate that and have people follow you and follow that vision that you’ve set out? That’s powerful and it’s hard work but beyond inspiring.
What I also learned and what’s probably been the most important lesson as my soccer career continues to evolve is that I’ve collected a lot of different skills. In today’s world of soccer you can be anything. You can be an accountant or work in marketing, but you can be anything. If you’re open to that, and I’ve always been open to that, then you will learn along the way and gather a lot of different skills that will help you along the way.