Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 16, 2016

Coach Johnson

Women's Head Soccer Coach Christine Johnson with her daughters

Soccer Veteran Becomes New Women's Head Coach

Maddie Jo Shultz

Manchester University is kicking off the start of the 2016–17 school year with  new women’s soccer coach, Christine Johnson.

Johnson discovered her passion for the sport when her parents signed her up for recreational soccer. “I was a highly energetic kid,” she said. Johnson is originally from Seattle, WA, but attended high school in Irving, CA. In 2001, Johnson participated in the NCAA Division I Final Four, and in 2009, she played professionally for the California Storm and Football Bay Area Pride.

Johnson has a vast professional background in the sport, having taken coaching positions at various universities and institutions.  She was an assistant coach at Fresno State University from 2005–09 and at Arizona State University during 2009–10. Johnson also led the Crown City United Soccer Club in San Marino, CA, from 2012–15.

Her experience with soccer differs depending on whether she is on the field as a player, or off the field as a coach. “As a player, I felt like I had more control over the outcome of the game,” Johnson said. Although she can teach her team the skills necessary to win, she explained, “As a coach, I cannot control the effort of my players.” Further, she cannot speak to her greatest challenge as a coach; it depends on the day or the week during a season. “What is my greatest challenge this week?” she asked. “Keeping my players healthy and getting our first win!”

Johnson has many fond memories of soccer. “When I am retired and everything is said and done, I think the thing that will forever stick with me is the feeling of being a part of a team,” she said.  “When you are a member of a team that is working together to achieve a goal, it’s a powerful feeling.”

One of Johnson’s former team members at the University of Florida was now-retired U.S. soccer superstar, Abby Wambach, who won two Olympic gold medals for the U.S. women’s national soccer team and was awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year. “Abby was the hardest working player I have ever come in contact with and she was extremely talented,” Johnson said. “Her locker was right next to mine in our locker room and she was a senior when I was a freshman so she was someone I really admired and looked up to.”

Johnson feels “blessed” to be a part of the Manchester University family, as her own family has a strong bond with the university. She moved to the area when her husband, Kevin Lake, accepted the position of head wrestling coach at Manchester. Lake, she says, has an “amazing” connection to MU. “His dad played football and graduated from MU, my husband wrestled for MU and graduated from MU, his twin sister played basketball and graduated from MU,” she said. “Coming back to coach was a dream come true for him.”

Johnson and Lake reside in Fort Wayne. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Jayla, 9, and Amara, 5.