New coach, same dreams for Pen­nridge

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - AROUND TOWN - By An­drew Marcus

Since 1990 when the Pen­nridge girls’ soc­cer pro­gram was es­tab­lished Au­drey An­der­son has wanted to see it ex­cel. An­der­son was on the in­au­gu­ral team as a fresh­man and af­ter grad­u­a­tion in 1993 al­ways kept an eye on her alma mater. Af­ter spend­ing the last seven sea­sons an as­sis­tant coach with the Rams, help­ing turn it into a peren­nial state ti­tle con­tender, An­der­son is now the head coach of last year’s state run­ner-ups.

“This is so per­sonal to me,” An­der­son said. “I was a ninth grader on the WHDP Ln WKH fiUVW yHDU RI WKH SURJUDP. SHHLnJ KRw GLI­fiFuOW LW wDV DnG VHHLnJ where the pro­gram is, it does not get any bet­ter than that.”

Jorge Ro­driguez stepped down from the po­si­tion af­ter win­ning two Dis­trict 2nH FKDPSLRnVKLSV Ln fiYH yHDUV. An­der­son and Ro­driguez worked well to­gether, and while there are some nHUYHV IRU WKH fiUVW-yHDU KHDG FRDFK, hav­ing near 20 re­turn­ing var­sity play­ers from last year’s 23-2 sea­son helps ease some trep­i­da­tion.

“We have a lot of key girls re­turn­ing and it ex­cit­ing for me as a coach,” An­der­son said. “Jorge is a dif­fer­ent style coach than I am, al­though I have learned so much from him. He has gone back to VFKRRO WR JHW KLV WHDFKLnJ FHUWL­fiFDWH DnG he’s not com­pletely out of the pic­ture. He has al­ready come back and done a train­ing ses­sion with the girls.”

AnGHUVRn JRW KHU fiUVW WDVWH RI KHDG coach­ing in Her­sheypark Sta­dium for the state cham­pi­onship. Ro­driguez PLVVHG WKH finDO JDPH RI WKH VHDVRn as at the time of kick­off was when he was on plane for his hon­ey­moon. The 1-0 loss to Peters Town­ship turns out to be ex­cel­lent ex­pe­ri­ence for An­der­son as she en­ters the 2012 look­ing to lead her team back to Her­shey.

“Jorge gave me a heads up and I knew be­fore­hand that this was a pos­si­bil­ity,” An­der­son said. “I never felt more alone at that game with all of those peo­ple there, but it is an ex­pe­ri­ence that I have, that a lot of coaches do not. Whether it is be­cause Jorge got mar­ried or what­ever the case, I still have that ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The Rams not only re­turn ex­pe­ri­ence, but lead­er­ship from girls such as four-year starter Natalia Pinkney. Ev­ery year tal­ented se­niors have grad­u­ated and new play­ers have had to step up. This year the Rams lose play­ers such as Stevi Parker, who is play­ing at South Carolina, and Pinkney un­der-

stands her lead­er­ship has to ex­pand.

“It is up­set­ting to lose peo­ple, but that is how it is,” Pinkney said. “We know who we have and there is no point to count our­selves out. Stevi was a big voice in WKH FHnWHU RI WKH fiHlG, sR wH will need to work on com­mu­ni­ca­tion and make sure this team stays to­gether.”

It was a slight shock to the Rams to see Ro­driguez part ways and the girls knew they were los­ing a great coach. But if any­one was go­ing to take over, they are happy it is An­der­son, whom they have es­tab­lished a good re­la­tion­ship with. There a few dif­fer­ences in coach­ing styles, but the Rams are ready to start the An­der­son era on the right foot.

“,W Ls GHfinLWHly GLIIHUHnW be­tween Aud and Jorge,” Pinkney said. “Aud, since she has played here, she has so much pride in this team and we have de­cided this is our year to go back DnG JHW fiUsW SlDFH. ($nGHUsRn) Ls PRUH Rn WKH fiWnHss side and tech­ni­cal work. We are pick­ing up where we left off, just with a lit­tle change.”

While a pre-ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween An­der­son and the Rams helps, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the new head coach and the girls is the still the main fo­cus as they head into the sea­son. An­der­son, who has her soc­cer jersey re­tired at Cal­i­for­nia Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, wants to make sure her team un­der­stands her ex­pec­ta­tions. And ex­pec­ta­tions are to win.

“Jorge had a re­la­tion­ship with the girls that I did not and now it’s my turn,” An­der­son said. “Get­ting them to feel com­fort­able with my coach­ing style and how far I can push these girls. We have a lot of lead­er­ship and ev­ery­one’s goal is still the same. So let’s see if we can get back there.”

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