The University of Chicago men’s soccer team is filled with All-Americans and veteran leaders. But it is their rookie head coach who is making history.
Julian Sitch guided the university to an undefeated record and the top seed.She is the first woman to coach a men’s soccer team in a championship tournament.
Sich can create more history on Saturday. If the University of Chicago Maroons win the Division III national championship game, she will be the first woman to coach a men’s soccer team to a national championship.
“It gives young girls something to aspire to,” she told CBS News. “If they can see it, they can dream it, they can believe it and then aspire to be it.”
Sitch’s journey began as a 5-year-old girl playing in boys’ teams and continued until she was a professional player in Australia, Sweden and the United States. She took over the Maroons in April, becoming one of only two women to coach an NCAA Division III men’s soccer team.
“I’ve coached a lot of young girls, but I’ve also worked with a lot of young boys, and I think at the end of the day you’re coaching athletes,” she said.
While it’s a first for most of the team, they tell you right away that gender has nothing to do with winning. Griffin Wada, a senior and team captain, said it was “never a big, pressing thing” that she was a woman.
“She’s just a calming presence,” he said.
“Once we step on the field, our game speaks for itself and speaks volumes about his coaching abilities,” said junior goalkeeper Will Boyce.
To sitch, gender doesn’t really have much to do with coaching.
“Every coach has something different to offer,” she said.