A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

New Women's Soccer Team Kicks Off Season

September 14, 2012

UC Merced’s first NAIA women’s soccer team is going to have a short season – five home games and nine away games.

That’s by design.

New head coach Megan Atoigue said this is the time to set the foundation for the campus’s inaugural women’s soccer program, and a chance for the team members to cement their commitment to the team.

“We need to get established,” she said. The team hosts its first home game Sept. 28 against Las Positas College.

Atoigue, who was hired in May, said she was already “recruiting like crazy” for next year, even as she was getting ready for the fall season that started this month.

UC Merced has had a club team for the past four years, but this is its first year having an NAIA-sanctioned women’s soccer team. UC Merced also added an NAIA-sanctioned women’s basketball team this year, too.

Some of the intramural players are returning to join the NAIA team, like Sunny Partington, a senior who’s studying human biology with plans to work in sports medicine.

“It’s a real honor to be part of an NAIA team,” Partington said. “I can’t wait to see how our competition is going to be this year.”

This year’s team members come from all over the state and Hawaii.

Atoigue, who coached high school club teams and was an assistant coach at a junior college, said she always dreamed of being a head coach at a college.

She also wanted the excitement of starting a brand-new program.

“The behind-the-scenes work is challenging,” Atoigue said, “but I’m looking forward to teaching them. I love teaching soccer. I am looking forward to watching them develop and come together as a team, and I can’t wait to see how it will all turn out in the years to come.”