As Head Women's Soccer Coach, Eichhorn-Hicks is clear about his role. "The immediate goal is to be competitive in all games in our first year," says Eichhorn-Hicks, who is also employed by the National Sports Center Soccer Academy in Blaine. "I believe we will be able to field a solid team right away so, when we start conference play in 2009, we are a contender from the start."
Eichhorn-Hicks attained his National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Diploma with distinction this year, having earned his NSCAA State Diploma in 2003, and his regional and advanced regional diplomas in 2004.
His extensive soccer coaching experience includes three years as Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Girls Varsity Soccer Coach (2005 to 2008), bringing them to three-time, defending North Suburban Conference Champions in 2005, 2006 and 2007 with a conference record of 27 wins, 2 losses and 0 ties. As assistant coach for the Minnesota Women's State Select Team Assistant Coach in 2006, he helped bring them to Midwest Regional Championship finalists.
Eichhorn-Hicks' contagious enthusiasm for soccer has resulted huge strides in increasing participation throughout the metro region. As Soccer Programs Director at the National Sports Center Soccer Academy (2005 to present), he increased indoor participants from 89 to 465 in four years. As Director of Coach and Player Development for Three Rivers Soccer Association (2005 to 2007), he increased number of teams from 22 to 36 in three short seasons.
Eichhorn-Hicks brings that enthusiasm to Anoka-Ramsey. "I always knew that soccer at some level was my calling," he says. "At first as a player then, when my very short professional career ended due to injuries and limited chances in the United States, as a coach. I am lucky that my hobby, job and passion are the same thing. I can't get enough soccer-I watch it on television and read books about it. If they had it on the radio, I would listen to it, too."
Anoka-Ramsey's first women's soccer coach has big plans for the team. "The long-term goal is to challenge in the conference championships and qualify for the National Tournament as soon as possible. But from the start, along with competitive success, I want to help start a tradition of integrity and genuine enthusiasm for the game on and off the field."
Anoka-Ramsey's women's soccer season will officially begin the second week of August and end in mid-October. There is only a fall season for now, but a spring season may be added in the future if demand continues to grow. Since word about the program is just started to get out, the majority of Anoka-Ramsey's first roster will be students who expressed interested earlier and a few women following the new coach.
The team will play other area community colleges and a few Division III colleges' junior varsity teams. While soccer at the community college level is common throughout the country, it is just starting to catch on here. There are currently a handful of other programs including Rochester, Hibbing, Century and Dakota County. Women's soccer is growing by the year though.
Next year, for the first time, there will be a state conference and the possibility of playing in a national tournament at the end of the season, if the team qualifies. With the new coach's attitude, there is little doubt that they will qualify.
"I am determined to make soccer work at Anoka-Ramsey," says Eichhorn-Hicks. "And I won't stop until the college has an established, successful soccer program and a reputation as a team with both integrity and vision."
See more information about Anoka-Ramsey Community College women's soccer program and other athletics, or call 763-433-1360.