By Jake Knabel, Director of Athletic Communications
Four-year standout Jordan Donohoue will remain a fixture for Concordia women’s soccer as the program readies for its 20th season of existence. No, head coach Greg Henson did not find an extra season of playing eligibility for the 2013 first team all-conference performer. Donohoue will join Henson on the sideline this season to help bolster the coaching staff.
As a well-respected and vital member of the Bulldogs since 2010, Donohoue’s new role has been met with widespread approval by her former teammates. A recent @cunebulldogs tweet announcing Donohoue’s addition to the coaching staff quickly racked up five retweets and 30 favorites – many from current players.
“Some of them were like, ‘Hey Coach,’ the next time they saw me,” Donohoue said. “They weren’t really poking fun at me, just acknowledging it. A lot of people are like, ‘Really, you’re staying here?’ I took it as an excited ‘really.’ I’m just happy they’re happy to see me again. I think there’s equal excitement.”
Count senior midfielder Marcie Sindt among those who are excited, really.
“I’m excited. She’s an awesome player, an awesome teammate and an awesome friend,” Sindt said. “She’s going to be great to be around. She’s going to be a real asset to the program. I’ve been calling her ‘Coach’ lately. It will be different but it will be a good thing.”
The timing is right for Donohoue and the program as the roster grows to more than 30 student-athletes for this fall. That means there will be plenty of room for the Manhattan, Kan., native to step in and provide her own input and expertise. The most difficult aspect of the transition may simply be getting comfortable coaching former teammates.
“I’ve still been playing pick-up with them and playing games with them (this summer),” Donohoue said. “I don’t know yet, but I hope everyone will know the difference between teammate Jordan and Coach Jordan. I respect them and I think the best way to receive respect is to give it. I’m just going to try and treat them like a coach.”
Henson needed only one season of coaching Donohoue to realize she would be a good fit for the part-time assistant role she has taken on. There’s an obvious mutual respect between the two. Donohoue said the idea of becoming a coach became more appealing after taking Henson’s “Coaching Soccer” class at Concordia.
Donohoue’s experience working youth soccer camps and her leadership qualities during her playing career provide a good lead-in for a potential coaching career, although Donohoue is still unsure if coaching will be part of her longer term future.
“We’re looking forward to having her join the coaching staff,” Henson said. “It’s always tough for young coaches to make that transition from player to coach and go from being a teammate to a coach. Jordan’s got the personality and the respect of her teammates that I don’t think it will be an issue for her. I’m looking at the aspect of having her be able to relate to players and be able to talk directly from a player to coach standpoint and the communication side. I think she will be a good addition for us.”
In turn, Donohoue knows the experience will be beneficial as she picks up more knowledge from Henson. Donohoue has not shied away from her praise of what Henson has already done for the program.
“He’s like a coach I’ve never had before with his style and soccer knowledge,” Donohoue said. “I was so jealous of the other girls that they got to have more time with him and learn so much more from him. Now I’ve got an opportunity to learn more from him in a different method, not being his player but seeing how he thinks behind it. I’m really excited about it.”
A May graduate with a degree in biology, Donohoue also has other commitments. She continues to live in Seward but also started working at a drug testing facility in Lincoln called Celerion. Donohoue, who works there with another recent Concordia graduate in Langston Jones, likes that the opportunity gives her a chance to potentially help others.
“I’ll be working on a lab bench doing some testing,” Donohoue said. “It’s not too different than some of the stuff I’ve been doing the past year working in labs. It will be something new and exciting. It’s fun to think that something I could be working on could affect someone I know and help their life out.”
Coaching soccer and working at the lab will hold over Donohoue for at least the fall of 2014. Beyond that, just about anything could happen for the two-time scholar-athlete who gets glowing reviews from all who have interacted with her at Concordia.
“My future is kind of open,” Donohoue said. “This job opportunity – I would have never expected it. Grad school is an option. I don’t know what exactly in. I’ve thought about going into the science field. There are so many options. There are so many different types of jobs. There are so many things I’m interested in learning about.”