RAGE WPSL Coach Sarah Fawcett Happy to Coach WPSL for a Second Season

By Lizzy Rager

Sarah FawcettJust as important as a team’s players, if not more, is the Coach. The Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) coach for RAGE, Sarah Fawcett, leads the team for her second WPSL coaching season. She has been coaching for 20 years, 9 of those in the states.

In the RAGE club, she is the 7v7 Age Group Coordinator (AGC), meaning she oversees all the younger teams and supports/mentors the players and coaches in those age groups to ensure a pathway that actually builds into 9v9 and 11v11. She is also the 2010 ECNL coach, who is coming just out of 9v9 into 11v11. She is excited to be one of the first to build the foundations for their new formation.

Outside of RAGE, she is involved in the Cal North Olympic Development Program, the NorCal Player Development Program,  and coaching business that “helps with individual player development.”

Fawcett’s origins in soccer trace back to England, where she played soccer since she was four years old. While playing college in England, her team won the British University National Championship. After that, she left to play in Australia, but while she was playing she was a  player-coach for a newly formed Women’s Team. 

“It grew from a love of playing to a love of coaching,” said Fawcett.

She then knew she would follow the path of a coach. Immediately, she returned to England to get her coaching licenses. However, she decided to coach in the USA over England due to the lack of full-time positions. She earned her UEFA B diploma and a Master’s Degree in Soccer Coaching. Most recently, she got her USSF A National Youth License, which is only a step away from a Pro license.

“As a coach, you learn every day. And if you can get some benefits by getting the coaching credential, it really helps because it allows you to excel in what you’re doing. It gives you a different outlook on the game and all the modern approaches you can take. I think it’s important that you keep up to date with the credential because the game is ever-changing” said Fawcett with regards to the usefulness of her coaching credentials.

RAGE WPSL combines various levels of experience in soccer players, with girls in the league just coming out of high school playing alongside girls who’ve competed collegiately and or professionally. This has been a positive and a negative for Fawcett.

“It’s been difficult at first because they’re all from different environments and different styles of play and culture. But I think each week, the girls are growing with each other. The freshmen ladies learn something from the most senior athletes and vice versa,” said Fawcett.

Fawcett’s first season with WPSL was her first time coaching Division 1 and 2 players. She notes that the players in that group made lifelong friendships and saw much improvement from game one to game 10. 

“Definitely didn’t get the results I wanted last year but I think that’s something we want to improve upon this year. Get those results and hopefully finish top two in the group so we can make the conference playoffs” said Fawcett.

The start of the season can be rough with entirely new players.

“The big thing for me is the relationship between the players right now. It’s very very quiet. It’s difficult to get much response from them. So I think as a group, we need to improve on that” said Fawcett. 

In a club like RAGE, there are many different levels of competitive play, with the combination of recreational levels and competitive levels up to semi-pro. Coaches have to adjust to these varying levels of experience and age groups.

“A lot of it can be frustrating in moments as a coach, but it’s a process and different players at different levels and abilities develop through the process in different ways. I remind myself every day that we will see progress” said Fawcett

But for every tumultuous mountain to overcome, there is a peak. 

Those are the sort of long-term achievements in coaching that when you get, “they’ll make you feel amazing,” according to Fawcett.

When she’s on the field, all the stress goes away.

“You’re in your zone, doing what you love every day, and it doesn’t feel like a job. For me, as a coach, if I can inspire–mentor young athletes in the game and make them grow that love of the game, that’s something that makes me love what I do” said Fawcett.

Fawcett puts a lot of emphasis on building relationships with her players.

“You’ve got to get to know the person first before the player. You show that you care and that you’re here to be a friend to them, but also help them develop in the beautiful game. I think I’m a very open-minded, open-door policy. I will allow players to provide me feedback and I’ll provide them feedback” said Fawcett.

Guided discovery is a technique where a teacher provides an example and helps the learner to find the rules of the example themselves. It forces the learner to draw upon their own knowledge, engaging their critical thinking skills. Fawcett uses this technique in her coaching.

“I want them to try and make their own decisions and solve their own problems by guiding them through the process,” said Fawcett.

She also emphasizes playstyle.

“I want to see lots of movement and rotations on the attack to create goal-scoring opportunities and I want to ensure that we possess the game and control the ball as much as possible. If we lose the ball, we win it back immediately” said Fawcett.

The RAGE WPSL team finished 2nd in the Pac North Southern Division and will go into playoffs with the partner Pac North Northern Division this Friday. If it succeeds there, it will play in the West Regional playoff. At the final step, the WPSL team would play in a Nationwide Championship.

“We’re looking strong and hopefully we’re ready to go,” Fawcett Concluded.