The Chieftain caught up with new head Warriors girls soccer coach Amanda Saenz, to find out more about her coaching style and plans for the upcoming season. Saenz was the assistant soccer coach last year under Mike Olguin.

Saenz is originally from Socorro. She got her bachelor’s at New Mexico State University and a masters in coaching, sport recreation and fitness administration from Angelo State University, in San Angelo, Texas.

How did you get started in soccer?

I played on the high school team, started in eighth grade and then all the way until my senior year. I’ve played basketball and track here. If you go to school here, you have to play almost every sport, because it’s so small. I feel like that’s what makes our athletes a little more diverse.

What do you like best about soccer?

Right now, my girls. My girls are just, they’re awesome. It’s just completely different from last season. It just seems like the bond is a little bit there more than it was last season. They’re just funny. They’re clowns. They like to make jokes all the time. I love the sport, don’t get me wrong, but the girls make it a lot more memorable and passionate.

What are your goals for the team this upcoming season?

My biggest goal is I just want to adapt the culture. I want to get the girls to buy into the culture a little bit more. With COVID hitting us, we missed out on a lot of AYSO seasons and that’s what feeds our entire program, is girls playing in AYSO all the way into those years. I want them to buy into that and I want them to develop great habits for their future. Soccer and sports are amazing, but your future can continue on without it. You don’t, it’s not something that is promised to you forever.

What is your approach to coaching?

Just being super honest and upfront with the girls. They don’t always love that, but I just explain that my intentions are for the best, not to coddle your feelings, because in the big world, no one’s going to coddle your feelings, so just being honest with them and explain why we’re doing something and what the purpose is for that activity or that drill.

How long have you been coaching?

Two seasons, I can’t say two years because we did spring soccer when COVID hit and then we went right into fall soccer. This will be my third season or second year, third season.

So, your first year coaching was COVID, everything shut down for half the year?

It was kind of crazy because everybody had to be spread out, everybody had to be in a certain distance. Getting drills and exercises and everything going was pretty tricky. Most of our girls stayed in pretty good shape with that spring season going into fall, which was nice, because there was a shorter time that they had to transition from soccer to soccer instead of a whole entire year.

It was just really interesting, because we only played 10 games in a season, normally we play 20. Our district is a lot different. We made a run for the state championship and just fell a little short, but it was a really good short season for what we were given.

What is the best part of coaching?

This one’s always a tough one. I love the sport and I love the girls, but my biggest thing is I want to teach them something that they’re going to use for the future. The best part is probably when a girl has been working on a skill for some time and it’s a little tricky, but then they finally get it. Or there’s just a light that turns on and they think this makes it so much easier than the way I was doing it. So just those moments of the light coming on for them and seeing them finally get a skill or realize how they should be positioning. Those are the big things for me.

What do you expect to be the biggest hurdles in the next year?

Just getting our numbers back up. We were going from having 22 girls there to losing 11 girls. We have 11 girls for sure, but we don’t have the subs. So getting them conditioned in the right shape they need to be because we don’t have subs is going to be the biggest hurdle because some of our girls are used to having that little breather for a couple of minutes. They’ll say, she’s getting us there.

Is there anything you want to add or want the community to know?

Just to come out and support our girls. We have quite a few home games this season and I just would like to see a lot more faces out there this season. Our first game is August 19 and the 20th. It’s the Socorro Cup Tournament. I just want the community to come out and support them just like they did when I was younger. Just continue the trend.

The first Socorro girls game will be at home during the Cup Tournament, which runs Aug. 19 and 20.