Manchester women's soccer coach photo
Photo by MU Athletics
Head Coach Katie Mitchell is passionate about coaching and hopes to help the team win two games early in the season.

New Women’s Soccer Head Coach Gets Ball Rolling on Season

Grace Denison

Manchester University women’s soccer team has a new head coach this year, and things seem to be looking up: the team started the season with two wins after not winning more than one game in three years.

Head Coach Katie Mitchell is serving as the seventh head coach the women’s soccer team has had at Manchester University. She started her journey as a Spartan coach this June. Mitchell spent the last two years as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Indianapolis where her team held the record 29-6-2. Her team also went on to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2019. Not only is she an accomplished player, but Mitchell was also a head coach for the Indy Premier Soccer Club.

As for Mitchell’s personal student athletic performance record, she was a student at the University of West Georgia as a four-year student-athlete in the NCAA Division II. As her bio on the MU Athletics page notes, she earned All-Conference and All-Region honors as a mid-fielder and was named to the Gulf South Conference All-Academic Team. Mitchell also finished her career with a school record 21 assists, 16 goals and 53 points. And she led the Wolves to four-straight conference tournament appearances.

While being an athlete was significant in her collegiate career, so was earning a bachelor’s (University of West Georgia 2019) and master’s (University of Indianapolis 2021) degrees in sports management. As an undergraduate, she also minored in marketing.

Mitchell’s biggest passion since she was a kid has been coaching. “I find so much joy in coaching and mentoring,” she said. “After their four years here, I want them to remember me not only as their coach but also as a good person that they’ve learned a lot from on and off the field.”

Additionally, she believes that the qualities she is bringing to her team are love, structure and personality. She said that she came into this position looking for what she calls the “mini successes,” rather than one large success. And she never questioned the work ethic the girls bring to the team. As she stated after the Trine v. Manchester game last Wednesday: “Are we always the smartest at making decisions? No, but we are always going to be the team that is working the hardest.”

Mitchell believes that the team’s most successful moment this season is winning two games off the bat after a three-year dormant period. Not only that, but she notes that they are “ starting to actually compete with teams.”

Mitchell said that the most vital thing the team needs to do to do their best this year is to continue to learn and improve their confidence in themselves. “I think that sometimes they panic and maybe don’t trust themselves to make the right decisions so we just kind of give the ball away too frequently,” she said, “but I think that if they had a little bit more confidence in themselves and trusted themselves a little bit more, they would be a lot more successful.”

Team captain and a senior Bridget Nash thinks the team needs to work on its communication. Then they will be able to be more prepared defensively, resulting in more successes.

Jayden Murray, a senior on the team, is pleased with the new coaching leadership. “At first, the thought of a new coach was overwhelming,” she said. “No upperclassmen knew what to expect of Coach Katie, but she is a perfect fit for this team. I love her coaching style, how personable she is, and I can tell she wants wins just as much as the rest of us, even if she hasn’t been here for all of our previous losses.”

Adelle Stanko, a team captain and junior, has high hopes for the season and beyond. “We have a few overall goals for the rest of the season, and we’re not satisfied yet,” she said. “We want to rebuild this program into something the student body at MU and the rest of our conference respects and is excited about. More wins, shutouts, and goals to come!”

Women’s soccer next takes on Defiance on Oct. 6 at home.