Behun, Loudermilk to lead Quaker Valley girls soccer as co-head coaches

Sunday, July 18, 2021 | 9:01 AM

Former Quaker Valley girls soccer coach Jamie Birmingham knew he was going to step down at the end of last season, so he approached assistants Maggie Behun and Rachel Loudermilk and asked them if they wanted to step up into the role.

It didn’t take long for the pair to agree that if they were going to do so, it was going to be as a partnership.

“We both just looked at each other and said let’s do this together,” Loudermilk said. “We’re both very passionate about the team and passionate about soccer. Through the years we have co-coached together with the JV team, so it just seemed like a natural transition to do this together.”

Behun and Loudermilk interviewed for the job together and were recently named co-head coaches of the Quakers.

“We know it’s a unique situation to have co-head coaches, and we’re grateful that they felt strong enough with what we were bringing to the table that it was the right fit,” Behun said.

“We’re thankful that they are going to give us this opportunity, because we really feel like with our knowledge of the girls and the program that this was the right fit at the right time. We feel we can take steps to further this team. It’s completely for them. Not for us. We’re just excited to see where we can go with them.”

Behun and Loudermilk have collaborated on a plan for every aspect of the program from how practices will run to eventually choosing the starting 11 for every match. They said their message during the interview process was that they have a “We” mentality and they’ve conveyed that to the players.

Their focus is accountability, team bonding and fitness.

They believe that if they show that they can work together in a coaching role that it will set an example for their players to use teamwork on and off the field.

“Everything will be Rachel and Maggie. Not Maggie doing something and Rachel doing something else,” Behun said.

“We’re seeing that out in every way. For example, in any given practice or warm up, we are thinking about what will make the girls the most comfortable. If we split them up, they will always have a head coach with them. They’re always going to get constant attention to help them develop. Not in a political way at all, but our thought is that we’re two young women stepping up and making decisions together. We think that will be a good example for these young girls.”

Behun is a Quaker Valley graduate. She was an assistant with the Quakers the last eight years under the two previous head coaches, Michael Pastor and Birmingham. She met Loudermilk, a Columbus, Ohio native, through playing adult league club soccer.

They became fast friends, and when an assistant coaching position with the Quakers became available a few years ago, Behun recommended Loudermilk.

From there they coached the JV team together while also being varsity assistants.

They know the players well and said in becoming co-head coaches the relationship will alter some, but for the most part it is a seamless transition.

“It will be a little bit of a change, because an assistant’s role versus a head-coaching role, players look at you differently,” Loudermilk said. “This year they’ll know that they have the final decision makers’ eyes on them at all times even if we split the group up. I feel like that we’re always seeing that play out in pickup. The level of play has risen. They know how serious we are about them succeeding and playing together as a team.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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