Athletes go through a number of coaches throughout their careers, all of whom help develop them in one way or another. A great coach can make all the difference in a player’s life.
Jordan Reppell, assistant coach of the women’s soccer team, is a big believer in this concept. She credits the coaches she had growing up with helping her develop as a player and, eventually, as a coach. She knew that if she wanted to be a great coach, so she would have to craft her style after other great coaches.
Her father was also a huge factor in her athletic career.
“My dad is the big athlete in the family,” said Reppell. “Baseball and soccer are the big sports in our family. He was kind of my inspiration and I had great coaches. I never had a bad soccer coach.
They kept me in the game and I learned to love it.”
Born and raised in St. Louis, Miss., Reppell began playing soccer when she was a young girl. She attended St. Joseph Academy High School, an all-girls private school, before enrolling at Missouri State University. There, she played all four years in Springfield before volunteering for two years as a coach. Reppell graduated with a bachelor’s in entertainment management.
One of her most memorable moments as a player came during her final year at Missouri State University.
“We were playing for the Missouri Valley Conference championship. We ended up scoring late in the game and trying it to send it to overtime,” said Reppell.
She also said playing the position on defense helped when she wanted to transition from player to coach.
“I played center back,” said Reppell. “No one would ever think that that position is physically demanding; it’s more of a mental game back there. It is very important for the center back to be very calm and vocal, a good communicator, someone who can direct the field.”
Not all players want to be coaches, but this was something that Reppell had thought about for a while. Some players can transition easily into coaching, some athletes just fall into the position, and some have no desire to coach.
“Some people just kind of come into it, but I have always wanted to. I had great coaches all my life and they really inspired me. I’ve always known since I was little that I wanted to, more so because I want to give back,” said Reppell. “I’ve been so blessed and grateful as a player, that giving back and having other girls have that same experience is so important to me.”
A lot of work and determination needs to go into coaching. A future coach must consider what kind of coach they want to be. How will they get the best out of their players? What do they need to do to become a great coach?
“It’s tough. One of the things that I learned as a player early is that you need to have the respect from your teammates and respect from your coaches,” said Reppell. “Respect is the biggest thing to have as a player or a coach. If I wouldn’t have had their respect as a player then I wouldn’t have their respect as a coach.”
In July 2013, Reppell received a phone call about the assistant coaching position at NSU. Although her first season with the team wasn’t the best in the team’s history, she did learn a lot about the team, coaching and herself.
“[Head Coach Mike Goodrich] is the greatest mentor ever. I’ve learned so much from him coaching here for 15 years. I’m growing as a coach like always. I try to balance him. I am the connection between the girls and Mike,” said Reppell. “It is good to have a connection on all levels with the girls. I am the mediator.”
After one year at NSU, Reppell has fallen in love with the university, the program, the staff and the Athletic Department.
“I absolutely love it. I love it here. I love the girls and they’re great. They work hard and they have passion and they care. It’s amazing to see. I love it on and off the field,” she said. “Everyone that we work with here, from the trainers to the communications people in the Athletic Department.”
There is no telling what the future will bring for Reppell or the women’s soccer team, but they are making all the right moves to build a strong program.
“We are looking to turn the tables a little bit,” she said. “We are still building players and a culture that will hopefully be a winning one. Coach and I are doing our job if we are building people and not just players.”