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Coachspeak: Glenelg girls soccer's Maureen Hammond

When Glenelg's longtime girls soccer coach Dean Sheridan stepped down following last season, the program didn't have to go very far to find his replacement. 

For the past six years, Maureen Hammond -- Sheridan's daughter -- has been by his side as an assistant coach. With a young group dominated by underclassmen, this season seemed to be the ideal time for the torch to be passed. 

And now, it's Hammond calling the shots and Sheridan by her side as an assistant coach.

The Gladiators, who won three state titles and reached the state playoffs a number of other times in Sheridan's time as head coach, are banking on a seamless transition with Hammond now in charge.

Hammond said the biggest difference this season is that she has to deal with the paperwork and make sure the scores get reported to the newspapers. Preparation and strategy is much the same with most of her coaching philospohies coming from her father. 

A Maryland graduate, Hammond also has followed in her father's footsteps as a math teacher at Glenelg. Married in April, Hammond and her husband, Stuart, are expecting their first child in February.  

As our Coachspeak guest this week, we asked Hammond about taking over the program, what she picked up from her father and what can we expect from the Gladiators this fall.     

What's the biggest coaching philosophy you've taken from your father?

That throughout the season -- win, lose or draw -- it's the last games that really matter. If you can get them to focus on the end games and to realize that's what the team is working toward, it's easier to get over some of the earlier losses.  We're always trying to build toward the end and there's going to be bumps and bruises along the way, but as long as we're ready to play at the end -- that's what really matters.

What are the benefits of having a younger team to work with this season?

It's great and that's one of the reasons why we switched this year because we graduated the last of the families that Dad knew. The girls that graduated last year and the year before were the youngest siblings in their families and the girls we have now are the oldest in their families. So I'm looking down the road and it's kind of cool that I'll be able to see them grow up, then their younger sisters and brothers grow up and watch them all come through Glenelg and get to know those families.

Playing soccer when you were growing up, what was it like having your father as a coach?

I remember it being pretty cool. I always knew that he knew what he was talking about. It made it a little harder down the road, listening to other coaches as a player because he was my Dad and he knew everything. It was like 'Who are you to tell me something my Dad told me to do maybe was different than your philosophy?' It was definitely an awesome experience being able to play for my Dad and to build our relationship and a great bond with something like soccer.

In what ways may your coaching style differ from your father's?

I think just being a younger female, I kind of understand the female teenage psyche a little more and understand where they are coming from. So I can approach it more from the standpoint of 'Yes, I may be hard on you sometimes, but if there is something you need I am here and I am very approachable.' As a young female, I think they're willing to take me up on that more. 

What's it like also following your father's footsteps in becoming a math teacher?

I found a love for math thanks to my dad and being able to share that with kids and seeing them excited about it is very rewarding.  People say they hate math all the time and to be a math teacher and to get kids to say they loved math class is the highlight of my day.

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