NEW ROCHELLE, NY - A love for the game drives every collegiate student-athlete. This passion is embedded in their lifestyle and continuously aids in shaping who they are on a day to day basis. The game provides memories, skills and lessons that last a time. Two of these traits that spotlighted brightest are passion and time management.
It is strange to think that playing the sport we have dedicated so much time to will no longer be feasible. But, as with everything in life, as one door shuts, another one opens. Those willing enough to gain a new perspective can still incorporate the game into their everyday life. Now, furthering their education at Iona College, Iona alumni and volunteer student assistant coaches Emily Hansen and Marley McLain are sharing their knowledge with their former soccer programs. Each has a passion for the Maroon & Gold and ability to balance their multi-facetted responsibilities; both Hansen and McLain have found a way to make the love of the game extend beyond just on the field.
During her time at Iona, Hansen, a Long Island native, was successful both on and off the field. She was a Dean's List selection and MAAC All-Academic member for her entire undergraduate career. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in finance and received the Edmund Rice Scholarship for her MBA in management. During her athletic career, Hansen was a MAAC All-Rookie Selection in 2013 and served as the program's captain from her sophomore year onward.
Although some of the current Gael student-athletes are former teammates and friends, each party has managed to put their pasts aside and work for the team's benefit in the present and future. Hansen has learned a new side to the game. She has developed a desire to push players to their limits to make them better.
According to Hansen, being a part of this behind the scenes work is her favorite part of her new job, "Seeing players perform what we practiced and watching them improve everyday puts a big smile on my face. It is so rewarding to watch how the time we put in shows."
As a player, Hansen earned the respect of her teammates by being a leader on the pitch. Now as a coach, she has learned a new way to earn and define the importance of reverence. Current senior co-captain midfielder Julia Campagna is happy to have a familiar face on the coaching staff: "Having Emily as a coach adds another dimension to the team. She has found a balance between being a coach and former player. She always gives us good constructive criticism to help us be better. At the end of the day, she wants what's best for us."
Despite her change in role, soccer still serves as an outlet for Hansen. While pursuing her MBA and managing a rigorous course load, she loves heading to the field for another day of practice. To her, soccer isn't work, it's fun: "One of the great things about my job is that I still get to jump in on practices and feel like myself. Soccer serves as a place to relieve any sort of stress, which is why I am so thankful I was given this opportunity."
On the men's side, Marley McLain has made a similar impact. A psychology major from Deer Park Long Island, McLain was a standout in the Maroon & Gold defense. Now that he's out of the Iona jersey, he wishes to help promote growth for those continuing to don the Gael shield. His drive to build individual and team success has also motivated him to be a part of New York Sports Club, where he coaches youth boy and girl soccer teams.
McLain walked at graduation last May unsatisfied with the way he ended his collegiate career. Feeling like there was so much more of himself to give, he was inspired to coach and finish his time at Iona with a success story. McLain enrolled in graduate school and became a student assistant to second year head coach James Hamilton.
McLain quickly learned the important part he played in this year's team dynamic. Because he previously wore the jersey, he felt it would be an asset in his coaching job. He has worked hard to create game plans, trust the process, and watch the Iona student-athletes implement the tutelage imposed upon them during games.
Most importantly, McLain has helped them prepare for success, which to him is the most rewarding part of the job: "Team success is the best thing. It is amazing to see the boys train all week, follow the game plan, and succeed while doing so. At the top of my mind is the UConn game; it wasn't that we just defeated a Top 25 program but it was an all-around team effort and class act. These moments make the job worth it."
Though their titles have changed, Hansen and McLain are still leaders in their programs. The Iona legacy and tradition is within them and is channeled through the instruction and spirit they provide their players.
Both the men's and women's soccer programs are preparing for the MAAC Championship competition as the regular seasons come to a close.
Fans can keep up with the latest news and excitement surrounding Iona men's soccer by following the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For all information surrounding the Iona women's soccer team, follow the team on its own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.