Soccer alum Bri Eilman becomes new assistant coach
Some players’ passion for their sport is so strong that they never want to leave. This is the case for the new Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach Bri Eilman.
Eilman graduated from Guilford last year after three stellar years on the women’s soccer team. During her career at Guilford, she totaled 12 goals in 47 appearances, and her 12 assists stand tenth overall in school history.
Head Women’s Soccer Coach Eric Lewis said that she was a “leader right away.” Her leadership and soccer skills led to her appointment as captain last year.
“Everyone looked up to her on and off the field,” said senior midfielder Jaclyn Nucci.
“She could see the plays that were necessary and strategies that we could use,” said senior midfielder Gabrielle Lahowitch.
Eilman had been coaching soccer camps at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for four years. “It came natural to me,” she said.
During the fall season she asked if there might be a position open for a new assistant coach. When Lewis said that it was a possibility, she applied for the job after graduation.
Approaching the season, Eilman was nervous about transitioning from the players’ teammate to coach. Lewis was also concerned that the older players would not respect Eilman as a coach.
“Surprisingly, it’s been great, because they do respect me as their coach,” Eilman said.
“I had a lot of respect for Bri to begin with,” said junior goalkeeper Abby Gove. “So it’s not that much different from having her as a captain.”
“It felt very natural for me because I felt like she was already coaching me in a sense,” said Lahowitch.
Even though the players respect her, the transition has not been completely easy.
“At first it was awkward, keeping that line of respect,” said Nucci. Now everyone can maintain professionalism.
So far, Eilman’s coaching career has been a success.
“She stayed on me about everything as captain and does the same as an assistant,” said Lewis. “She knows my weaknesses and compensates for them.”
Eilman has also impressed the players with her coaching skills.
“She pushes us because she wants us to win,” said first-year defender Cassie Vaughn.
When Eilman is pushing the players to be their best, she offers verbal encouragement as well.
“If I’m down about something, she has something to say to help my game,” Lahowitch said.
Vaughn expressed the attitude with which Eilman is approaching the upcoming season, and the attitude that she instills in the team.
“When she’s like, ‘We’re going to win,’ I feel like we’re going to win,” said Vaughn.