Women’s Soccer Head Coach
University of Miami
Mary-Frances Monroe has been the head soccer coach at University of Miami since 2016, after seven years as the head coach of the University of Albany. A well-respected player and instructor, Monroe competed on the field with the Boston Breakers of the WPSL Elite League as recently as the 2012 season.
Charged with building the Great Danes program from the ground up, Monroe and her coaching staff won 2009 America East Co-Coaching Staff of the Year honors in just her fourth year at the helm. During that season, the Great Danes earned the first Division I postseason berth in program history.
Just one year later in 2010, the Great Danes finished with a 10-8-2 record under Monroe’s direction – the first winning season for the program since 1988.
A four-year college All-American at the University of Connecticut and UCLA, Monroe was a candidate for the Hermann Trophy, awarded to the best female college soccer player in the country. As a freshman with the Huskies, the Northport, N.Y., native set the program’s single-season record with 65 points. Monroe was rewarded for her spectacular debut with BIG EAST Rookie of the Year honors and first-team all-conference recognition.
Monroe also achieved success on the international level as a player, earning several caps with the United States Women’s National Team.
What is your best piece of advice to a girls youth coach?
Be honest and communicate. Communication is so important at all levels. It is so important to be positive when a player does something well.
Understand your players. Some players may need more positive reinforcement than others. Sometimes those players may even need you to say “great pass” even if it was a 15 yard pass completed under pressure. Make sure you understand that isn’t praising a player for making a mistake. This is helping a player build confidence.
There are also times that you need to be hard/demanding on a player. They want to know what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. Just yelling at a player telling them what they already know doesn’t help a player develop. These kids are human and will make mistakes, but they need to understand that at the next level making continuous mistakes may cause them limited playing time.
I tell my players I am their biggest fan but I am hard and I am demanding. I want to help develop them into the best player that they can be and help them follow their goals and dreams and the goals of the team.
Another piece of advice is to hold them accountable. You may have a super star that thinks they can get away with anything because they are “good” and/or the “best player on the team”. I have coached players that are the best on the team but their body language is poor when they make a mistake. I pull them over and explain to them they need to set a better example for the team. How do you think your teammates will feel if I let you get away with your poor body language. Think about someone who doesn’t play a lot and I continue to play you even though you don’t follow our rule of having good body language. This has been a great lesson for players like that. For this particular player, I understood as a coach she was just upset with herself but her team make not see it that way.
For Mary-Frances Monroe’s team building exercise, please read How To Coach Girls coming out March of 2018.