Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Swain steps down as Wood River soccer coach

Express Staff Writer

After a three-year run, Farrell Swain has stepped down as head coach of the Wood River boys' varsity soccer team.

With the program for a total of five years, the 27-year-old Swain compiled a 34-21-3 mark at the helm of the Wolverines and, perhaps more importantly, completely eradicated any notion that a woman cannot effectively coach a boys' varsity team.

Community School coach Richard Whitelaw said, "I think Farrell will be missed because she certainly knows how to coach and the boys respected her. She played the game at a high level and she knows what she is doing."

An All-American in her senior year at Simsbury High School in Connecticut, Swain went on to be a starting player in her four years at the University of New Hampshire where she graduated with a degree in sports management in 2002. She is returning to the East Coast in July to be closer to her parents and grandparents, but, despite the proximity of close family, it proved to be a tough decision.

"I think it's the hardest decision I have ever made," Swain said. "This is such an amazing soccer community and I am really going to miss everyone, especially the boys."

Swain said no one game sticks out in her mind as a highlight, but rather the accord she developed with her players is what she will carry with her.

"My highlights are way more personal," Swain said. "The way I connected with the boys is what I will remember. I learned an amazing amount, not only about how to coach high school soccer, but about high school boys in general. I learned a lot about myself too."

It was a two-way street.

Last-year's co-captain Axel Peterson remarked, "I have learned so much from Farrell from the whole soccer view, but more like the life-lesson view.

"I have learned so much from her that I will take for the rest of my life."

Third-year assistant Matt Phillips will take over as varsity head coach.

"He is amazing. He will be a phenomenal coach and the boys are lucky to have him," Swain said.

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