Thornton Academy’s Hannah Niles works past a defender in the 2016 season. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

Thornton Academy’s Hannah Niles works past a defender in the 2016 season. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

SAC0 — The Thornton Academy girls soccer team will welcome a new head coach this fall, as former TA junior varsity coach and current history teacher Natalie Sharland was named to the position. Sharland will be taking over for Chris Kohl, who coached girls soccer at TA for 11 seasons.

“Soccer is a sport I’ve loved and I’ve coached in various roles. I’ve also coached basketball, track, I thought I had a pretty good resume. I teach at Thornton Academy so I think also having that teacher-coach connection is important,” said Sharland.

Sharland is a veteran in the soccer world, playing collegiately for the University of Maine and also coaching in the TA system for seven years. Experience will be key throughout the transition to head coach, according to Sharland.

“It’s important — coaching soccer for seven years beforehand, I have practice plans and ideas … I’m ready to go,” said Sharland. “Familiarity is important.”

Sharland inherits a solid group this fall. The Trojans finished 2016 with an 8-6 record and qualified for a playoff berth in the Class A South. Much of the Trojans core is young, and Sharland is excited to get to know the club.

“We have some great potential. It’s tough to compare the team to other years since I’ve been gone but I think it’s fair to say that if our team comes together then we will be very competitive,” said Sharland. I’ve got to see where the league is at but we’re going to be competitive. I just want to push these girls as much as I can and hope for the best.”

Sharland also hopes to provide the Trojans with lessons on and off the field to take with them in high school and beyond.

“My coaching philosophy is teaching life lessons through the sport of soccer, that’s probably the most important thing,” said Sharland. “Teaching these girls lessons and skills that they will take with them not through just high school but further on after they graduate.”

— Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.


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