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Women’s soccer team looks to move forward without coach

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Head Women’s Soccer Coach Rachael Sushner announced this past week that she will be leaving St. Olaf to coach at Trinity College in Connecticut. Sushner was the Senior Women Coordinator during which she created the Ole Leadership Academy, served on the Title IX committee and held other various responsibilities.

During her time at St. Olaf she led the St. Olaf women’s soccer team to three winning seasons and coached them to two postseason appearances in the MIAC playoffs. She also was able to coach multiple all-conference players and two all-region players during the 2018 season. Sushner created a new focus for the program and built a strong foundation for the team to build off.

“From the moment I stepped foot on campus and handed out my first off-season training program, I was impressed with the work ethic of this team.” – Rachel Sushner

Aside from coaching, she had a responsibility to recruit and, even though she was the one recruiting, she was always blown away by the work ethic of her players.

“From almost the moment I stepped foot on campus and handed out my first off-season training program, I was impressed with the work ethic of this team,” Sushner said. “They want to work hard. It’s in their DNA.”

The coach said there were, of course, times the team needed to be refocused, but she could count on one hand the times she questioned their work ethic.

Through Sushner’s ability to inspire, she helped to shape a new environment for the team to fill. Sushner spoke highly of her players and was proud of her ability to create a new environment.

“I was proud of being a part of creating a positive culture and program that happened to win more and more games along the way,” Sushner said.

Looking forward, the athletic directors Ryan Bowles and Mike Ludwig have posted the position and will keep it open until the right coach is found. Bowles and Ludwig, of course, were emotional to receive the news that Sushner would be leaving, but are excited of the prospects of gaining a new coach.

The team is looking for a new coach who will carry on what Sushner brought to the program. Sushners last day was Friday, March 1 and she left the team with some words of advice moving forward.

“Be open to change. Be a good person. Be a selfless teammate, friend and player to coach. Celebrate successes and failures together. Do the right thing. Work hard when nobody’s watching. Put yourself in a position where you deserve success,” Sushner said.

There is no question the team will miss her enthusiasm and presence, but will work hard to stick together and continue to improve.

sandel1@stolaf.edu