UGF Senior Balances Student, Athlete, Coaching Lifestyle

When Senior Defender Ashley Todd is done with soccer practice, she picks up her gear and heads to...... another soccer practice.

Ashley, or "Todd" as her Argo teammates call her, is entering her first year as the CMR Boys assistant coach. Both teams practice at Siebel Soccer Park, which makes it easier to balance 5 hours of soccer a day for three days a week.

"So I come here, warm up. Then I go straight there," says Todd. "Then I should be back at my apartment by 7:45, 8:00."

CMR head coach Joel Marinaccio has wanted Ashley on his staff for awhile, and is glad to finally have her aboard. 

"It started a couple years ago actually when I was an academy director for Electric city soccer, says Marinaccio. "We were looking for young coaches to get involved and I asked her then if she was interested in coaching. She said I am, but not right now."

"I just didn't have time," recalled Todd. "So this year he said he needed an assistant coach....he just asked me for the job, I said I would talk to (Argos Head Coach) Brian (Clarke) and let him know. So then Brian was okay with it."

While it's not easy to balance homework with two sets of practices, Ashley says the toughest part may have been before the season started.

"During preseason, we were doing three-a-days here, we were doing three-a-days there," says Todd. "And so Joel nice enough to schedule it around, so I had six practices. It wasn't the best, but by the end of the day I was exhausted."

But her hard work as has paid off with the Argos. She now brings a new dimension to the team that Coach Clarke enjoys having.

"We did a little chalk talk the other day and I was challenging the girls to step up to the plate and present what they thought the situation should be," says Clarke. "She was the one that stepped up and put the players where they should be and organize them on the board defensively for us."

One thing is clear: at the end of the day, before she's a coach or player, being a student comes first.

"One of the agreements we had...... her priority would be, first her academics, then UGF Soccer then helping out with CMR," says Clarke. "As long as those were in line with the priorities, this would be a great situation for her."

It's a situation that has helped the young CMR soccer team get better.

"She brought something new and gave us a different view on some things," says Rustlers junior defender Joey LaCasse. "She's a defensive player so she kind of helps us out in the back, especially with some newer types of style of play."

A style of play that Ashley can perfect with practice whether she's wearing Rustler Green or Argo Blue.

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