By Audrey Marble, Talon Staff Reporter
High school sports isn’t always about preparing yourself for college. It’s about making new friends and creating a family of your team from team sleepovers filled with lots of giggles to noisy song-filled bus rides. JV soccer coach Amanda Orand is familiar with these experiences.
Orand has been playing soccer for over 20 years and attended the University of Oregon where she played on their soccer team. She first decided to coach high school soccer so she could express her love for the sport and share it with others. Trust is very important to Orand while coaching. “If your players trust you, they feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. They will try new things and that is what makes them better,” said Orand. She likes finding something in common with her players and making sure they know she has their back. “She really tried to relate with us, so that was pretty cool,” said Sophomore Ashlee Ponce.
Being an experienced student athlete, Orand feels as if people can get so wrapped up in sports that they forget about their school life. Orand, also being a teacher, says, “Your brain will last you forever, but your body won’t.” She continues saying, “Play until it’s not fun, if its ever not fun take a break. Take a break and think about why it’s not fun and then think about why you loved it in the first place.”
While coaching, Orand really tried to model things pretty well and talk less. She also likes giving positive reinforcement to her players. “I like to let people know when they do something well so they will do it again.” said Orand. Orand believes confidence is huge in sports. “My goal as a coach is to build up your self esteem, let you know when your doing well, and give constructive criticism to help you improve.” Orand says.
For girls looking to play soccer in college, she says she recommends finding a balance between working hard at your sport and getting better, without getting burnt out. Orand says,”We want to set our goals really high when were young, but later we realize we have to find what works best for us.” Orand is looked at as a role model to many girls on her team. She teaches them to believe in themselves and helps their love for the game become stronger. “She helped us build a family and really bond as a team.” said Sophomore, Leah Ralph. Ralph jokes “She made us do yoga one time, and that was pretty baller!” Orand feels honored to be seen as a role model. She loves sharing a common interest with her team.
Orand has been playing soccer since she was in fifth grade. She jokes “I’ll keep playing until my knees don’t work!” Of all the soccer games and tournaments Orand has played in, pick-up soccer is still her favorite kind of soccer. “I love playing pick up soccer, where anyone shows up. Nobody keeps score, everyone is saying good job to each other, and you’re allowed to walk!” Orand says.
Her favorite thing about being a coach is creating relationships with her players. “As much as I love soccer, I like seeing people grow. Grow in their skills, in their friendships, and just in their personal lives overall. She loves being there and being a ear to listen to stories and such. “I saw Amanda as more than a coach, I saw her as a friend. She really cares about us.” said Sophomore, Leah Ralph. At the end of the season, Orand makes her players write nice things about each other, rather than her writing about all of them. Orand does this because first of all, she hates public speaking, but mostly because she thinks her players have such beautiful things to write about each other. She loves seeing their great observational skills they have for eachother.
Amanda is not only a great coach, she is a great soccer player, mother, teacher, role model, and friend.