Boston Breakers midfielder and head coach of the University of Albany Women’s Soccer team Mary-Frances Monroe recently led the Great Danes to their first-ever appearance in the America East postseason tournament and was named the America East co-coaching staff of the year along with her assistants.
“Making the playoffs for the first time was one of our goals this season and they did it,” said Monroe. “Their dedication and commitment each and every day helped us achieve that goal.”
The fourth-year head coach took over the then struggling Great Danes after the 2005 season, after serving as an assistant coach that season. Monroe was up for the challenge to turn around a program that had never finished higher than eighth in the conference standings.
This fall Monroe led the University of Albany to their highest single-season win total since 1988, finishing with a record 8-7-1. This season was Albany’s first non-losing season since joining Division I competition in 1999. The team only posted 25 victories in the first 10 years as an America East conference member.
The youngest team in the America East conference, starting only two veterans, recorded seven shutout victories and won three conference matches for the first time in program history.
“We played beautiful soccer this season and I am so excited for next year because we will be more experienced,” said Monroe. “At times I started four or five freshmen and four or five sophomores each game. We were very young and had many ‘young’ mistakes but the future looks so promising.”
Monroe’s squad was honored with a program-best five players who were voted to the 2009 America East All-Conference Women’s Soccer Team, America East Conference Rookie of the Year, and a member of the America East Conference All-Academic Women’s Soccer Team.
“I couldn't be more proud of my team,” noted Monroe. “They were tremendous in every training session and game. They trained like champions and that is what we soon will be. The team created the winning tradition.”
The previous story is excerpted from a press release by the Boston Breakers of the WPS and reprinted as part of an agreement with this publication. Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for Bleacher Report , Sports, Then and Now , and Seamheads . He is also a supporter of, A Glove of Their Own , the award-winning children’s story that teaches paying it forward through baseball. The Joe Niekro Foundation is the most recent non-profit organization to join the A Glove of Their Own team and will earn $3.00 from each sale of the book purchased using the donor code JNF636 Joe Niekro Foundation .