Sports

Mercer Island assistant becomes girls soccer program's next head coach

After serving as an assistant and junior varsity coach for the Mercer Island High School girls soccer team during the last two years, Nicole Nelson has become the program's next head coach.

Nelson, a physical therapist, is a longtime soccer player who played at Willamette University, where she played forward until her graduation in 2005.

"I've been coaching since I was 12, so I always knew it was something I wanted to do," said Nelson, who played center mid-field until her college career began. "I had the most fun playing in high school, so I hope to pass that on."

Mercer Island High School Athletic Director Craig Olson said Nelson was one of three candidates, and as the former assistant coach, had a lot of support from girls on the team.

"The girls worked really well under her," said Olson. "They gave her a lot of credit for helping them accomplish what they did last year."

The MIHS 2009 girls soccer team finished second in state, after losing to Columbia River in a shootout in the program's first-ever title game appearance.

"I'm really excited," she said. "I have a lot of fun ideas about how to integrate the youth program and other things I want to do." An added bonus, Nelson gets to coach with her husband, Adam, who is also an assistant coach with the program.

"I want it to be a smooth transition and to continue to contribute to the success of the program," she said. "I want to have equal success to last year, whether it's getting to the state finals or having girls play in college."

The girls soccer season begins in the fall.

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