ORLANDO, Fla. — Many great coaches are former players who excelled at the highest level in their respective sport, then move from the field to the sideline.
On the campus of Lake Highland Prep the head girls soccer coach, Kristen Edmonds, is in command.
“To be honest I think it’s actually helped me to be on the sidelines instead of on the field. It gives me a different point of view and I think it definitely helps me when I have to step on the field,” said Edmonds.
Edmonds isn’t quite like most high school coaches.
The 33-year-old just completed her fifth season with the Orlando Pride soccer team, but is in her first full season at the helm at Lake Highland Prep.
She joined the staff last year and helped contribute to a run at a state title.
“As a high school girl, watching, you get to go to pride games and you see your coach actually on the field in action and then she’s jumping in with you on drills here at school, that’s pretty exciting,” said Charmaine Schreiber, one of Edmonds’ students.
“She just really wants to give back. You can tell through her coaching, just watching her interactions with the girls. She really has a smile on her face, but pushes them really hard and gets the most out of our players, but just in a caring manner,” she continued.
It’s a callback to her youth, when she was coached by former MLS star and fellow Rutgers alum Jeff Zaun. She remembers his lessons to this day.
“Just kind of the way that he carried himself with us and he expected us to be as professional as we could be when training and on the field. So I definitely take that from what I’ve learned and try to bring it into what I do on the sidelines,” Edmonds said.
Pushing and caring is the method to the madness that a young coach believes can help big aspirations become reality.
“I try to tell them to just look at me as themselves because I was in their shoes at one time. They definitely let me know that it’s really cool to get paid to do what I do, and that’s definitely some of their dreams. But I always try to remind them that I started where they are, so it’s not an impossible dream,” Edmonds added.