If first impressions leave a lasting impression, the players in Washington’s girls soccer program have done their part.
Kansas native and DePauw graduate Lauren Hannan has seen hew new group for the first time this week, and she likes what she’s viewing.
Hannan was named to lead the Hatchet program, and after the first few days, the readiness of the players has been pleasantly pleasing.
“I’ve only seen them a few times, but everything so far has been really fast-paced with a lot of talking and a lot of moving,” Hannan said. “I was impressed. They were ready to go. I think they were trying to impress a bit, as they should. The girls were really hard working, they took direction really well, and pushed each other. The first impression was very good.”
The Overland Park, Kansas, native was a four-year player and two-year team captain in college. She has coached youth in the Lake Quivira Summer Program Recreation Program, PCYSA recreational soccer league in Greencastle and was an instructor at the DePauw University Soccer Camp.
“I believe Lauren will make an exceptional teacher, mentor and coach for the students at Washington,” DePauw coach John Carter said. “She has a wonderful and outgoing personality whether in the classroom, on the soccer field or in community service.”
So what should her team expect as they also become familiar with a new coach?
“I want to have players who are confident,” Hannan said. “I want them to know that they have freedom to do what they want on the field with some instruction from me. I want to help them as much as a I can and guide them, but ultimately it is their game. I want them to take ownership of it, push each other and I want to help make them strong, confident players by the time they leave high school.”
Switching around is something that Hannan believes can be beneficial for players in doses. She likes to occasionally let players experience the opposite end of the field. She believes those experiences help defenders understand what bothers a player offensively, just as offensive players can learn what forces defenders from their game.
The bottom line is instilling confidence in each player.
“Every team I’ve been on, I’ve switched around,” Hannan said. “I have a good idea of what I want from the offense, and I know what I want from my defenders. I’ve taken a lot from the coaches I’ve had.
“The main thing I want from these girls is to be aggressive, to be confident, to have good attitudes. It’s what any coach wants from their players.”
Hannan understands that she is the team leader, but she also wants players to take responsibility for outcomes. She wants players to follow, but also be accountable for their game performances.
“I’m building the foundation for the house,” Hannan said.
“They are the ones who have to paint it and choose the furniture. Everyone has an idea of how they want the house to look. I know what has worked for me in my experience, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to hear from them. It’s their team. They need to let me know what they want out of it as well.”
So, how about the opposition? How do you get to know teams that you have never seen?
“Obviously I haven’t seen the other teams and what they tend to do,” Hannan said. “I’ve talked to Gretchen (former coach Gretchen Miles), and she’s been very helpful with insight. My two assistants (MaryAnn McClure and Madi Lee) played at Washington and they’ve been helpful. I’ll look at stats and film from last year.”
Hannan believes the important first steps is to lay the foundation for that house to be painted and furnished.
“The biggest thing I have found, is that chemistry is huge,” Hannan said.
“I like for the kids to be constructive. You work together. If you work hard and have chemistry, that’s huge.”
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