FARIBAULT, MINN. - With almost two months of play under their belts, the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Girls Soccer Center of Excellence is continuing to gain experience as they head into their second season as part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. The two months have also allowed the new coaches within the program to adjust to the “Sabre Way”.
Leading this year’s Girls U19 team is Vernon Croft. A native of Fairfax, Va., Croft joins the Sabres after most recently serving as Director of Coaching for the Puget Sound Premier League (WA) and Technical Director for Eastern Washington Surf SC. Croft spent 22 seasons coaching collegiate soccer, but is excited to transition his focus to the Development Academy program.
“I’ve known of the program here for a number of years through my recruiting times at the university level. What I did not know was anything about the school. Joe [DeMay] and I go back a handful of years so that was my initial interest when the position opened. After visiting with him and Michele [Cornish] it became very apparent that this was a place I wanted to be - not only for the level of the soccer program and the impact I could have upon it, but the expectations and standards demanded of the student-athletes by the Shattuck-St. Mary’s community and how the entire school community felt as one. There is just something about being at a place like SSM that is hard to describe,” stated Croft.
“We are very fortunate to hire someone like Vernon for his extensive experience in the women’s game. He is highly thought of in the coaching world. Vernon has brought a freshness and enthusiasm to our Girls Soccer program and our School. I’m looking forward to the future of SSM soccer with Vernon involved,” said Athletic Director, Michele Cornish.
Assisting on the U17 and U15 teams is California native Megan Haninger. A defender who played collegiately at the Division II level, Haninger joins the Sabre staff after coaching positions at the club, high school, and collegiate level.
“I chose to come to Shattuck-St. Mary’s because it was an opportunity to grow as a coach in a professional coaching environment. The DA is an extremely exigent schedule and that allows me to have a surplus of opportunities to not only coach, but also grow my understanding and knowledge about the game. I hope that I can bring fresh ideas to SSM, by using my creativity and appreciation for the game,” said Haninger.
“We are very happy to have Megan on board with our Girls Soccer program. Soccer is what Megan wants to do for her career, and this is important because she is learning all of the necessary facets of running and sustaining a program like ours. Megan is well-liked by the players and staff and is a great addition to the SSM community,” said Cornish.
Croft, Haninger, and the rest of the Girls Soccer players will return to play this weekend against Midwest United FC in Kentwood, Mich.