Soccer coach earns national honor, hopes to improve player confidence

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Chiodo has earned a spot in the “30 Under 30” national program run by the United Soccer Coaches organization.

Ava Bell and Taslima Chapagai

The girls soccer team had a pretty rough season this fall, but team members say Coach Christine Chiodo inspired them throughout the season to not give up. 

“Her halftime speeches and her heart-to-heart convos really motivated us to keep going and stay poised and proud of who we were and us as a team,” sophomore Hayley Nieman said.

Chiodo helped the players grow as soccer players and to mature as individuals, Nieman said. And now Chiodo has earned a spot in the “30 Under 30” national program run by the United Soccer Coaches organization.

The program recognizes 15 male and 15 female soccer coaches under the age of 30. It includes a year’s worth of education and mentorship opportunities, including participation in a United Soccer Coaches convention in January.

“We get a lot of scholarships towards different education opportunities,” Chiodo said. 

Chiodo assisted in coaching Baldwin girls soccer for two years before becoming the head coach this past fall. 

The girls team has been struggling the past few years and faced a hard season this year. From her experience as an assistant, Chiodo already had some ideas about how the team can improve. 

Chiodo hopes her mentor will help her learn more about herself and the game, which will be beneficial to her coaching of the Highlanders.”

— Taslima Chapagai

“I wanted everyone to feel like a team. After hearing the girls talk, they really felt like they were a part of something,” Chiodo said. 

Chiodo said the team essentially was trying to build a program from scratch so the players could achieve confidence in their section. 

Through the program, Chiodo will be given a one-on-one mentor to work with.

“We were able to ask for who we wanted to talk to. And we get one-on-one opportunities to speak to (the mentor) weekly,” Chiodo said.

Chiodo hopes her mentor will help her learn more about herself and the game, which will be beneficial to her coaching of the Highlanders. 

One of those Highlanders, senior Megan Leary, said Chiodo already does a great job of studying how each player learns to help them grow as a person and a player.

“There really aren’t enough amazing things I could say about her. She’s phenomenal and deserves every minute of the recognition she’s getting,” Leary said.