Sports Spotlight: Coach Erica Schuling

November 20, 2015

Erica Schuling

We chatted with Erica about coaching soccer at Simmons and the new Daly Field!

What's a typical day like coaching soccer at Simmons?

A typical day includes answering some emails, returning phone calls to recruits, practice prep and getting equipment ready. The best part of my day is spent on the field coaching the team for 2 hours. The practice prep varies based on the number of student-athletes available that day. As an NCAA Division III institution the goal is to have our student-athletes in the classroom as much as possible -- so if there's a conflict with practice and class, the student-athlete will attend the class.

On a game day the schedule will vary depending on whether or not we are home or traveling. Our team travels as far north as Norwich University in Vermont and as far south as Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut. Throughout the season, I make sure to be accessible to my student-athletes in the office, but also by phone or email and therefore I am working 24 hours a day as needed.

How long have you been coaching soccer at Simmons?

The 2015 season is my 10th season as head coach and my 12th season working with the program. My first two years were spent as a part-time assistant.

Fill in the blank: When I was in college I         

spent the majority of my time with my coaches and teammates. I was a 4 year member of the Syracuse University women’s soccer team and was named captain for the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Our team traveled all over the country to compete and many of my teammates and I remain friends to this day. They had such a strong influence on who I am today.

As a coach, I make it a priority to create an atmosphere where student-athletes feel comfortable expressing themselves and creating an environment that encourages them to push their bodies and minds beyond what they think is possible.

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

Funny you should ask this question. Our team has been planning a trip to London over Spring Break 2016. We will compete against international competition and do plenty of sightseeing!

On a personal note, if I could go anywhere in the world right now I would have to choose St. John in the Virgin Islands with my wife and son. We love to escape the cold weather any chance we get.

What's your favorite part of coaching at Simmons?

When a student-athlete reaches a goal she set for herself or masters a new skill for the first time. The look on her face is priceless!

What's the most rewarding part of being a coach?

When I witness the team transform itself from preseason through the championship. The student-athletes arrive on campus in mid-August and there are “returners” and “first years” but in a matter of 3 months the team transforms into a unified group of young women that will do anything for one another. It's truly remarkable to watch the individual student-athletes grow over the course of their careers at Simmons. Our student-athletes are some of our strongest students. I am so proud of how they balance a challenging academic load with the rigorous demands of athletics -- and continue to remain involved in other groups on- and off-campus. It's impressive!

Do you have a favorite Simmons sports moment?

Any time we beat Emmanuel it's always exciting! The rivalry is known as the “Battle of Brookline Avenue” and it remains across all of our varsity sports. In 2009, the soccer team was playing in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship game on Clemente Field across from the Main College Building. At the end of regulation, the score was tied. We headed into overtime and a first year scored off of a header to win the game. The team dumped Gatorade over me and the celebration was amazing.

Do you have any superstitions surrounding games?

I try to stick to a similar pre-game routine whenever possible. A predictable routine and pre-game atmosphere is very important for athletes. I usually try to make my pre-game speech to the team exactly an hour and 5 minutes prior to kick-off. I am also a big fan of itineraries for road trips. This way the team knows what's happening next and they can plan their superstitions and routines accordingly.

How does it feel to know you'll be coaching on Daly Field? How will it impact your team?

For the soccer team -- and other field sports -- to finally have a field that meets NCAA regulations is outstanding. This means we will now be eligible to host championships at our actual HOME field instead of renting one from a Fenway neighbor. It will allow our team to be more prepared for competition and will assist in my recruiting efforts. Any prospective student-athlete that sees the state-of-the-art facility at Daly Field will be sure to be impressed. I know our alumnae look forward to coming back to campus and playing our annual alumnae game on the new field.

What's your Simmons moment?

I don’t think I can choose just one moment in particular, but I can say that when I receive an email or a phone call from an alumna or the parent of an alumna to thank me for providing them with the opportunity to be a part of the Simmons soccer team it really makes my day. I know that I have truly done my job when these alumnae come back to campus and reconnect with one another regardless of the amount of time since the last time they were together. The friendships that the student-athletes forge while at Simmons really do carry over into their personal lives after Simmons.

It makes me proud to know that they value their experience enough to want to keep coming back to campus and connecting with our current student athletes. The one common denominator is the Simmons soccer team for them and it truly is a valuable piece of their lives as members of the Simmons community. I love hearing stories about how their bosses appreciate their competitiveness and ability to work as a team on projects. There are so many valuable life lessons learned on the playing field.