The Ladies’ third all-time goal scorer returns to Mavec Field this year, though this time she won’t be adding more goals to her career tally.
Becca Romaine, a standout player for four years at Kenyon who graduated in May, is returning to the team this year in a different capacity: as the assistant coach.
Head Coach Kelly Bryan sensed during Romaine’s time as a student-athlete that she had the skills and knowledge to be an effective coach, especially while Romaine was a team captain during her junior and senior seasons.
“Being a captain was really influential on me wanting to be a coach, or at least pursuing it,” Romaine said.
When Assistant Coach Kaitlyn Mallernee left the team’s staff after the 2014 season to become head coach at Elmira College in New York State, Bryan said Romaine naturally became a candidate to fill the position.
“Sometimes, there are just certain people that understand the game more than just playing it, and they can see things and kind of be a coach on the field,” Bryan said. “I just saw those things in [Romaine] as a player.”
Though she had long been considered a good fit for the job, Romaine was not hired until recently. She began work only eight days before the team’s training camp started, and said there was a lot to learn all at once.
“I feel like I just jumped into the position and had to go,” Romaine said.
Having an assistant who is already deeply familiar with all aspects of the program has been a great help to Bryan so far this year.
Romaine “does know our expectations,” Bryan said. “She knows how the players can relate to balancing their school life and soccer — being that whole person at Kenyon, but obviously making soccer an important part of their experience.”
Current players say they are invigorated by the connection with their former teammate. “Having Becca on the coaching sideline has been wonderful,” co-captain Marie Laube ’16 told “Kenyon Sports Connection” before the start of the season. “She brings so much energy to the team. It is different this year because she’s not out there playing with us but we can still feel that energy, so that will definitely help us to get a little pumped up.”
The Ladies’ 2015 campaign is off to a bit of a rocky start — through its fourth game of the season last night, the team was 1-3-0 — but Romaine is no stranger to battling back from a poor start. Over the course of her career here, the team carried a 5-10-1 record through the first four games of the season, but the team salvaged winning seasons from slow starts in two of those years. Romaine is hopeful she can use her experience to help this year’s team overcome its early-season struggles.
Romaine has not decided how far to pursue a career in coaching, but said her time spent coaching thus far has encouraged her to continue.
“There is a reason why I applied for the position,” Romaine said. “I’m extremely interested in it, and it’s kind of working through that, and seeing if it’s worth pursuing, and thus far it is.”
Romaine cited being a captain during her time as a player as instrumental in her desire to pursue coaching. In soccer, a captain can have varying responsibilities. During a game, the captain becomes the field general that relays the coach’s instructions to the rest of the team.
“As a captain, you don’t just get to play soccer,” she said. “You have to be engaged in a lot more ways than I think people can realize, and I like that part of [that] engagement.”