The season may have ended in July, but the Breakers haven’t stopped working. A handful of players will spend this fall coaching local college, high school, club, and youth teams in and around the Boston area.
"We are delighted to have our players working with these soccer programs. Not only are they talented players, but they are fantastic role models and leaders," Breakers General Manager Lee Billiard said. "As an organization, we want to help soccer programs and all grassroots soccer grow. We are not just focussed on our senior team; we are very focused on using the great resources we have, in this case our players, to help develop the game, younger players, and soccer programs across the state."
Three-time Olympic gold medalist and Breakers midfielder Heather O’Reilly, who recently returned from the London Olympics with a gold medal in tow, is now working as an assistant coach at Northeastern University, along with Breakers defender Lindsay Massengale and former Breakers keeper Ashley Phillips. O’Reilly joins the staff of head coach Tracey Leone, who, like O’Reilly played for Anson Dorrance at the University of North Carolina. Leone also was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team and later was an assistant coach of the National Team in 2004, O’Reilly’s second year on the full U.S. squad.
"I helped Northeastern a little last season and look forward to it again," O’Reilly said. "I hope to share some of my insights and professional experiences with the team and staff."
Breakers forward Katie Schoepfer has a wealth of experience when it comes to coaching. Last fall, she helped coach her former high school - Waterford High School in Connecticut. This past spring, she coached a U-10 team in Acton, and she’s back with that club - Strikers United - again this fall. She’ll also coach Acton-Boxboro Youth Soccer.
"I like coaching a team because I am able to teach concepts and skills, and I can see the kids develop," Schoepfer said. "When I am energetic and get excited about the game, then it’s contagious with my team. The more fun I am having, the more the girls learn and the more they want to learn. It’s very rewarding to see my work with the kids pay off."
Breakers defender Katherine Donnelly will help coach with the Newton Girls Soccer youth program, along with Breakers midfielder Bianca D’Agostino and forward Jessica Luscinski.
"I think coaching is a great opportunity. It allows you to continue to develop your leadership skills, you learn how to advance your own game through coaching and different coaches’ styles and techniques so you’re able to grow as a player as well," Donnelly said. "And, coaching local teams allows you to form strong relationships with clubs and high schools and most importantly the girls who hope to be in our shoes one day."
Luscinski will pull a double duty. In addition to Newton Girls Soccer, she’s heading out to Framingham State University to serve as assistant coach for the womens soccer team.
"In addition to the youth coaching, I’m excited to be coaching at Framingham State this fall," Luscinski said. "This allows me the opportunity to be part of a program that is dedicated to not only achieving athletic success, but emphasizes the importance of academics as well. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge of the game with the team, as well as being able to continue being involved in college athletics after spending my collegiate years at Boston University."
The Breakers spent several weeks throughout the WPSL Elite season coaching at camps and clinics in Massachusetts, including Newton, Belmont, Framingham, Plymouth, Reading, and Weston, to name a few. A number of players have coached teams in the past. In Luscinski’s case, she’s worked at high school summer camps in previous years. This is her first at the collegiate level.
"I think we are in a really unique position when it comes to coaching," Luscinski said. "Whether it be our Breakers camps or other teams, it provides us with the opportunity to interact with our fans directly and reach out to encourage and promote youth involvement in this sport. We are role models for these young girls, and can teach them important lessons on dedication and teamwork, as well as setting and achieving goals. Soccer has provided me so many unbelievable opportunities and has taught me some incredibly valuable life lessons that I love being able to share my passion for this sport with younger players, and provide them with an opportunity to experience just how much fun soccer is."
Donnelly said she’s looking forward to coaching, and looked back at her youth soccer days when older players came in to coach.
"I remember growing up having college players and some pros come help club and high school practices every so often, and it was a huge inspiration for me to learn from them and aspire to make it that far," Donnelly said. "It’s always good to give back, but at the same time I learn a lot from the other coaches and players I work with. I helped my assistant BU (Boston University) coach with his club from time to time. I grew up playing for Seacoast United and Boston Aztecs. I’ve been working with Acton-Boxboro High School this week as well as a camp in Maine with local private boarding schools of New England."
Schoepfer’s goal goes beyond the soccer field.
"I look forward to empowering these girls and being a role model to show that they can do anything that they want to do," Schoepfer said. "Most importantly, my team and I just have a lot of fun. I want these kids to fall in love with the game and be lifelong soccer fans."