Written by Morgan Romance
Boca Raton, FL - As the 2012 Summer Olympics begin this month in London, England; Florida Atlantic University already has a gold medalist it can be proud of, in assistant women's soccer coach Staci Wilson.
Wilson, a three-time national champion and Olympic gold medal winner, has brought her coaching talents to the FAU women's soccer team for the 2012 season. Wilson was a defender on the 1996 United States Olympic Women's soccer team.
As a two-time, All-American high school soccer player in Virginia, Wilson chose perennial women's power, the University of North Carolina, for her collegiate soccer.
"I was in my element (at UNC), it was high level in every sense and really challenging. I felt like I was apart of something special, it was a good pressure, a really motivating pressure," Wilson said.
For Wilson, the most memorable part of playing all four years at UNC was, "When Coach Dorrance said after winning the National Championship that it was the best chemistry year ever in the school's history."
"Having Coach Dorrance say that we had the best chemistry that year was big because I was a senior and the leadership on the team was set by the older players," Wilson added.
When it was announced in 1993 that the United States women's national soccer team would field a squad in the 1996 Olympic Games, Wilson knew she had to work hard to make that team.
"In everyway, you compete in everything that you do. At the same time there is a lot of commitment, teamwork and camaraderie. We set the standard for fitness on the national team back in those days. We set the tone," Wilson said.
The 1996 Olympics was a turning point for United States women's soccer as a whole.
"It was surreal playing in the Olympics; the crowds, the energy, everything was incredible. Having played in the 1996 Olympics and winning a gold medal at a young age was beneficial for me now, because I had the experience early on and I can share it with others now."
While the FAU women's soccer team returns a strong core of experienced players for the 2012 season, Wilson is optimistic she can help the team become the best they can be.
"Everybody is worried about the result and not really focused on how they get there, creating a whole boat load of problems. Those problems snowball when you are only focused on the result, so I would like to teach them a little bit more about technical, tactical, physical, and psychological terms to help them become the best they can be."
Wilson's coaching career has featured serving as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Independence of the Women's Professional Soccer, from 2009-10; head coach of the Loudoun Youth Soccer Association's Under-12 and Under-13, from 2004-2006; director of soccer training at the Perfect Competition Athletic Development in Davie from 2006-2007; and coach of the Under-9, Under-13 and Under-14 girls for the Weston Fury Soccer Club in Weston from 2006-2008.
Most recently, Wilson was the strength, speed and agility coach at Howard University during the 2010 and 2011 spring seasons, and head coach/team trainer for the Under-17 girls team in Cooper City.
While being accustomed to coaching teenagers, and now transitioning to college athletes, Wilson is ready to focus her coaching to accommodate older and more experienced players.
"Older people don't like to be told things, it's harder to teach them new tricks. In order to get a point across, my methods of coaching have to be more tactical when dealing with people who are developed and have styles and preferences."
Wilson has a positive outlook on this upcoming season and says, "It should be a good season this year and I just want to be a part of what helps the change."
And who knows, having an assistant coach with three national championships and an Olympic gold medal can only help the Owls succeed in the competitive Sun Belt Conference.