‘Treat them like it’s Division I’: Soccer coach discusses coaching philosophy, start to season


Megan Baggett

Taylor Stevens, assistant coach for the women’s soccer team, works with senior goalkeeper Courtney Lofland. Stevens is entering her first year as assistant coach of the women’s soccer team.

After graduation Taylor Stevens knew she wanted soccer to be a part of her life.

Stevens graduated in the spring from Murray State University and is now the assistant coach of the women’s soccer team.

“Coaching was pretty much the closest thing I could do (to playing the game),” she said.

Stevens said she enjoys seeing the development the team has made since practices began a few weeks ago.

“I graduated from a Division I program so we are giving the team the attitude that isn’t for a Division II program,” Stevens said. “We treat them like it’s Division I and they are held to the highest standard.”

Stevens said she started playing soccer when she was 8-years-old and since then she went on to play travel soccer and semi-professional until she was recruited to play at Murray.

While she was playing, Stevens said she would individually coach young athletes. She then moved up to a head coach for a middle school in Murray and coached a club team in Paducah.

“I could tell from those coaching experience that this is something I wanted to do,” she said.

Stevens said since she started playing she has always loved competition.

“I love to compete,” Stevens said. “….I love the winning attitude and teaching that to the girls even if they don’t have the right touch or they don’t do things exactly correct, they are going to pull out a win in the end.”

Haley Rheinlander a junior forward, said it’s nice to have a woman as an assistant coach.

“We can relate to her a lot with issues and girl things,” she said.

Rheinlander said Stevens knows the field very well, which helps her help everybody in their positions.

“She has knowledge for the game… and she’s been great,” she said.

Every time the team practices, Rheinlander said Stevens comes in with an upbeat and positive attitude, which transfers over to the team.

“I think that with any team, leadership is the most important thing anyone can have,” she said. “Anytime she comes to practice (Stevens) has energy and is ready to get going and that definitely transfer to the team and the atmosphere.”

Rheinlander said Stevens has been helping them work on injury prevention, which is something the team hasn’t done in the past and is beneficial for the amount of times they practice.

“I think we are just all very excited about going into this season with the new stuff,” Rheinlander said. “We are ready to prove to everybody that our hard work is going to pay off.”