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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU women’s soccer GA, Luisa Herrera, continues to showcase love for the game

Herrera’s path led her to Ashland University in Ohio during the summer of 2023
Mike Hopkins
Graduate assistant coach Luisa Herrera helps the team prepare for a game. 

No matter where you live in the world, there is always one major hobby that connects people to each other: sports.  

Sports have allowed people to bond with one another whether that be through cheering on your favorite professional team, playing the game you love, or being able to mentor others in that sport.  

The latter seems to be the case for Luisa Herrera, a graduate assistant coach for the Ashland University women’s soccer team. 

The Colombian-born coach has had a long history with the sport. Herrera fell in love with the game of soccer when she was a little girl.  

Her passion for this sport earned her the opportunity to play in the United States in 2016. Herrera packed up her belongings and moved to Ohio.  

When she arrived in the state, Herrera first attended Ohio Valley Univeristy, a college that no longer exists.  

She then transferred to the University of Northwestern Ohio where she finished her last four years of soccer and her undergraduate in sports management. 

While attending the University of Northwestern Ohio she played goalkeeper for the Racers. When she first got to UNOH she was a field player. The team lacked a goalkeeper and Herrera stepped up for the job.  

“It was really hard work for me because I had to prepare the whole off-season. I couldn’t go home. So, it was a really hard process, I broke my wrist in the process so it was tough,” said Herrera. 

After graduating Herrera knew she wanted to be a coach. She then went on to be a coaching intern at UNOH.  

In 2020 to 2021 she became a graduate assistant coach at the University of Rio Grande for the women’s soccer team. That following year, Herrera became the assistant coach for the Redstorms.  

Eventually Herrera’s path led her to a small Division II school in Ohio during the summer of 2023. 

Head Coach Cayleb Paulino was looking for someone who had goalkeeping experience and coaching goalkeepers and knew Herrera would be a good fit.  

“She has been a fantastic addition to our staff and she fits well with the players,” said Paulino. 

Some of Herrera’s responsibilities include helping Paulino with the starting line-ups before games and helping with planning trips to away games.  

However her main responsibilities are to train the goalkeepers. During practices she pulls the three goalkeepers to do drills for 30 to 40 minutes.  

Herrera has to make sure that all three goalkeepers are ready and prepared for every game. Late into the current season senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Simon picked up an unfortunate injury. So she had to make sure that junior Maddie Dolenga and sophomore Sarah Watson were ready to finish the rest of the season.  

“From day one, Luisa’s expectations for all of us were high. She is constantly providing feedback on what we can improve on. She has helped develop a very tight-knit group for us goalkeepers,” Simon explained. “Her knowledge of goalkeeping has been so helpful for all of us to gain a perspective from someone who has been in our shoes as a former player.” 

Herrera mentioned that she loves being able to help coach the women’s soccer team. For her this season has been a great experience as she is able to do what she loves. That being coaching the sport that has been a big part of her life. She hopes she can come back and help coach this team next season.   

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    Lina mariaDec 8, 2023 at 1:02 pm

    Gracias a la Universidad por darle espacio a mujeres q como Luisa , tienen la pasión por una gran institución como esta ! Su compromiso y amor por el deporte y por el fútbol le darán más triunfos a la universidad!!