A couple of years ago, Erin Matson finished her playing career for the University of North Carolina field hockey team. She then stepped across the sideline into the coaching box, immediately winning a national championship.

Yesterday, it was announced that Mackenzie Allessie, like Matson a former U.S. women’s national teamer, is also going to be joining the coaching ranks. Allessie, the former Big Ten Player of the Year at Penn State, will be heading up St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa.

Allessie, as a player, was capable of outrageous skills befitting comparisons to Ronaldino, the retired Brazilian soccer player. Allessie, during her fine scholastic and collegiate playing career, crafted her shots and passes with amazing aplomb. As a teenager, she made the U.S. national team and led the United Eagles in scoring at the 2019 Pan-American Games.

Mackenzie Allessie’s mother Gina was a great example and mentor. Gina Allessie coached at Hershey Milton Hershey School (Pa.) for a decade and a half, coached at Alvernia University as an assistant, and runs the club team Alleycats.

St. Francis is a team which finished 10-8 in the Northeast Conference a year ago. The history, however, is a difficult one for the Red Flash. SFU has never won a post-season game, much less made the NCAA Division I Tournament.

Somehow, I think Allessie will ignore that, and will instead put her energy and knowledge into making her players greater than they thought they could be.

And isn’t that what coaching is all about?


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