With Matt Rogers’ nameplate still hanging on the door and an office that is relatively plain, Antoinette Love continues to settle in to her new position as women’s soccer coach.
Love officially began as the new head coach on March 16 and is the fifth person to hold the position in 25 years at the University of La Verne.
“No matter where I go, I always have high expectations,” Love said.
“I know it’s the first year I’m going to be here but I’m going to expect to earn respect from teams in the conference and hopefully change things in that way,” she said.
Love has been involved with soccer from an early age, as she grew up watching her dad play the sport every weekend.
She attended Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena where she played club soccer and later earned a scholarship to play at Arizona State. Love played at ASU from 1997 to 2000.
During her freshman campaign, Love became the first soccer ASU player to earn All-Pac-10 honors, and later earned Second Team Pac-10 honors during her senior year.
She was also named Arizona State’s rookie of the year in 1997.
Being of Croatian descent, Love also played for the Croatian National Team from 1996 to 1999.
For the 2003 season Love served as an assistant soccer coach at Elmira College in New York.
She then was the assistant coach at the University of Nevada for three seasons before becoming the head coach in 2007.
Love later was the assistant coach at the University of Kansas for four seasons.
“I like soccer because it’s a players’ game,” Love said. “When it comes down to the game and game time there’s not a lot of coaching done, it’s decisions on the field that a player has to make.”
In July 2011 Love and her husband returned to California to settle down and spend time with family.
However, Love did not stay away from the field for long because she was shortly sending in an application to ULV.
“She is the best person for our program right now, where we’re at and where it needs to go,” Julie Kline, director of athletics, said.
“It’s fun to be around players that still have that passion and drive to play just because they love the game—I think that’s the biggest draw to this job,” Love said.
Love said that by the end of the season she wants to see improvement from one game to another.
“If we win some of them we win some of them, but as long as we’re improving and playing good soccer (…) then I think that’s the major goal,” Love said.
Love said that this improvement will hopefully take the team to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoffs every year and eventually to the NCAA postseason.
Christine Camacho, sophomore midfielder, said that practices so far have been intense and consistent.
“My biggest goal is get them to the point where the game is easier for them because they’re so fit,” Love said.
“If not this season but next we will be more respected in the conference,” Camacho said.
Kline said that she is confident Love will deliver the highest quality coaching both on and off the field.
Love has played and coached at a variety of division schools; however, she said that the desire to win and improve as a player cannot be restricted to one category.
“No matter what division you’re at you have to be competitive, you have to want to win. That’s my mentality and that will never change,” Love said.
Amanda Nieto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.