New coach has high hopes

By James Nokes

Punch the time clock, bring your lunch pail, and work hard until the whistle blows. The age-old mantra has defined the lifestyle of blue-collar workers for years. NIU women’s soccer coach, Marci Miller, wants her team to be molded after that grizzled mentality.

“We want to be a hard, tough, physical team,” first-year coach Miller said.

“When a team is done playing us, they should say, ‘man, that’s a tough team to play.’”

Inheriting a team that went 6-7-5 a year ago, Miller is counting on strong play from her seniors. She wants her seniors to invigorate the rest of the team, and seize their last opportunity to don a NIU uniform.

While prepping for the season-opener today at 5 p.m. against the Wisconsin-Green Bay, Miller believes she has her finger on the pulse of her team.

“I really want game-day to be the players’ day,” Miller said. “We work hard organizing them and coaching them up in practice, but on game-day I want to coach a loose and confident team.”

Facing the daunting challenge of revamping her teams’ style of play, Miller installed her system in a short while. She says success won’t be measured in a specific number of wins, but rather in the ability of her squad to transform themselves into a team that plays out every possession.

“At the end of the game, we want to be able to answer a question,” Miller said. “Did you play like you wanted to win?”

Two seniors were voted to the post of captain and are the field generals in Miller’s campaign to shift to an aggressive style of play. Midfielders Angeline Impelido, and Christie Ehrhardt, both exhibit different styles of leadership.

Miller calls Ehrhardt the chief vocal director of the team. While Impelido’s dedicated effort will act as a model for players to follow.

Miller wants her team to mature as a cohesive unit. She scoffed at the thought that a superstar player could make or break a squad. Miller has a simple, short-term goal for this season; become a team unit.

“In my experience,” Miller said, “winning does not come down to one player.”

Miller can draw on her vast professional and international experience as a player. She recently played for the United States National Team, and said that the time and effort she poured into her job at NIU, has slowed her training regimen. For now though, Miller isn’t focusing on the week-long camps that culminate in a game, she’s locked into getting NIU soccer off to a positive start.

“These girls are my priority,” Miller said in reference to her still active playing status. “I want to build this program and establish it as a positive place that kids love coming to for a well-rounded academic, social and athletic experience.”