Emily Hansen brings youth, experience to coaching staff

Student assistant coach Emily Hansen stands on the sideline as she watches the women’s soccer team play against Cansius.

Emily Hansen walked into practice on Tuesday morning and sat down on the sidelines to put her cleats on. This is something that had become second nature for her over the past five years. This season, however, it has been in a different role.

Hansen is now the student assistant soccer coach for the Iona College women’s soccer team, after she spent four years with the team.

The adjustment from being in the action to coaching on the sidelines was not a big difference for Hansen at first.

“At first I didn’t feel much of a change,” Hansen said. “It was a little awkward to be around here.”

However, Hansen said once the games started, specifically in-conference games, she could not help but want to be back on the field.

“When they started playing games that actually meant stuff, I was like ‘oh my God, this stinks’,” Hansen said. “And then like a game against Canisius, we were here and it was a great game, overtime, and I was actually itching to get onto the field.”

Hansen’s duties vary from helping assisting head coach Sarah Brady during practices and warms ups during game days.

Brady said having Hansen on the coaching staff has brought leadership to the team, as well as respect from the current players due to having the connection and experience with them.

“I would love every year if we had a player who didn’t want to leave the program and we got to keep them on in a coaching roll,” Brady said. “Just because of their richness of experience, you know, you can’t replicate it.”

Hansen has also played a big role on setting an example for the team, especially setting an example for the younger players and establishing the future of the program, according to Brady.

“The young kids just love her,” Brady said. “She even jumps in at practice sometimes to show them that she’s still got it.”

Hansen is glad that Brady came along after going through three coaches, which was difficult, as well as the times where she did not think she could play anymore.

“I went through a lot here, unfortunately,” Hansen said. “I guess just the best way to say it is that I’m thankful that she came in and kind of brought the love back into the game for me.”

Long-time friend and teammate graduate student Erika Flowers enjoys having Hansen a part of the team as a coach especially in her final year playing for Iona. Hansen’s new role has not changed their relationship and has been critical due to the support the two have given each other in years prior.

“It really does help me on the field knowing that I have her there no matter what,” Flowers said.

Flowers and Hansen have known each other since they were very young. They have played their whole careers together and were apart of the same recruiting class, which means a lot to Flowers.

“It was really awesome to just have like your best friend, your teammate and now somebody even higher as a coach next to you and supporting you,” Flowers said.

While Hansen wishes she was still on the field playing with many of the players she had played with during her career, she also said it has been cool to see the game from the coaching side.