For the first time ever, Missouri Western has an assistant soccer coach thanks to a NCAA grant that promotes gender and ethnic minority representation in intercollegiate athletics. Ashely Haflett was hired this offseason and is excited to be at Missouri Western.
“It’s an awesome honor to be the first one,” Haflett said. “I am very thankful coach brought me on, and I’m looking forward to helping this program.”
Head soccer coach Chad Edwards is excited to have her on board too. Edwards is going into his eighth season as the head women’s soccer coach, but this is the first season where he will finally have a little extra help.
“If you have the chance to add more people providing help and mentoring and helping our kids have success, you’re going to take that opportunity,” coach Edwards said. “Thank you to the NCAA for providing this opportunity.”
Edwards had been looking for the opportunity to add an assistant coach since he arrived at Missouri Western, but never had the funds. Fortunately, Missouri Western was given a three-year coaching enhancement grant by the NCAA, making an assistant coach position possible.
Athletic Director Josh Looney said he and coach Edwards had both made adding this position a priority and knew about the grants and the opportunities they provide.
“The women’s soccer team was our only team sport that didn’t have a full-time assistant,” Looney said. “When you don’t have, necessarily, budget dollars that can support a full-time staff member addition, you start looking for external ways to do it.”
Coach Haflett previously coached at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. Prior to that, she played at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she was a goalkeeper. She worked with goaltenders a lot at the University of Mary in Bismarck, and her knowledge of the position is one of her strengths.
“I think I bring to this team my experience in goal keeping,” Haflett said. “I know that’s not my only role here, but I was a goalkeeper. I’ve been involved in camps, and I was highly involved in the goal keeper training at the University of Mary.”
While coaching at the University of Mary, Haflett helped improve the goalkeeping drastically. The goalkeepers allowed half as many goals to score from 2016 to 2017, and they had twice as many shutouts, going from three to six. Those are very impressive numbers.
Coach Edwards is enjoying having her around and thinks her presence has already added a lot to this team.
“It’s been fun,” coach Edwards said. “It’s been fun to have an extra resource and someone to give their opinion on things. I didn’t want a ‘yes’ person in this role. I wanted someone who was going to challenge me to become a better coach and it’s paid off.”
Congratulations coach Haflett and good luck this season.