Photo by: Bettie Tabor
Former Colonel soccer star adjusting to the role of coaching
September 15, 2016
Former Colonel soccer player Spencer Valdespino graduated last spring as one of the most decorative athletes in Nicholls State University history and is now taking on the challenge of being a first year coach.
Valdespino, a native of Spring Hill, Florida, had no plans of coaching or going back to school to begin working on her Masters. However, two weeks after earning her bachelors in mass communication, Valdespino received an email about a possible graduate assistant position at Auburn University in Montgomery in Alabama.
“It’s hard to turn down another free education and more years with soccer and passing down the knowledge,” Valdespino said.
Apart of the class with the most wins, her accolades also include Southland Conference Player of the Year, Louisiana Sports Writer Association Player of the Year, a three-time Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week in 2013, First Team All-Louisiana, and a three time first team All-Southland player.
Valdespino holds career records in several statistical categories for Nicholls soccer including points, points per game, goals, goals per game, game-winning goals, shots attempted, shots per game, and shots on goal per game.
Although she is missing the thrill of playing, coaching soccer is rewarding to Valdespino.
“I can’t even put a number on how much I miss playing but I really enjoy learning the sport from a different perspective and analyzing the game from the sideline,” Valdespino said. “I thought the transition from player to coach would be easier after four grueling years, but sometimes coaching on game days is hard because I’d do anything to play again, especially at Nicholls.”
Valdespino surprised her old teammates and got a chance to watch the Colonels take on ULM in Monroe, La. earlier this month.
“It was nice to see them in action. I still facetime all the girls and keep in close contact with everyone,” Valdespino said. “Now I find myself giving them advice when they tell me about their games.”
With a new coaching career underway, Valdespsino enjoys the process and looks forward to what coaching soccer will bring in the future. As for playing soccer, Valdespino is preparing for a tryout with the Houston Dash next year as “a final hoorah in the sport of soccer.” Now having experience in the coaching world though, remaining a soccer coach is something she believes is worth doing.
“It’s nice having girls come up to me and asking me for my advice because it is rewarding knowing they take what I say seriously. Plus, I’m learning more about the game than I did playing.” Valdespino said.