The Moffat County High School soccer-coaching carousel came to a halt Jan. 13.
Eight months of searching ended three weeks ago when Nicole Dolence accepted the assistant coaching position for the MCHS varsity girls soccer program.
"I love soccer," Dolence said. "I think it's a really fun sport."
This 27-year-old knows her stuff.
Dolence played travel ball as a youth in Moorhead, Minn., and starred on her high school team.
She graduated from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota with a degree in community psychology and a minor in coaching.
But, she wasn't quite finished.
"And then I got my masters in school counseling," Dolence said.
Which is what brought her to MCHS.
"I love it," she said.
The seven-plus years away from soccer began to nag at her, so when she saw the position was available, she did what she's always done - she went after it.
"I had no choice," head coach Dave Rodriguez laughed and said. "No, really though, I wanted somebody that had experience and had played soccer before, and she had more than enough experience."
Rodriguez, a first-year coach, admitted it may take some time for the two new coaches to get a successful program in place.
"Don't expect a miracle," he said. "If you're looking for a miracle, look somewhere else."
But, the duo agrees on some things.
"My philosophy is to make sure the girls are always having fun and that they can build individual success as well as success as a team," Dolence said.
"Girls can learn a lot from being on a team. Life skills, teamwork, hard work, how to be motivated and how to motivate yourself. That's what I hope to bring and help them work on those skills."
Rodriguez emphasized team unity and commitment.
"I think we will be more structured than we have been in the past, and we'll definitely have more discipline," he said.
With discipline comes hard work.
And Rodriguez and Dolence said there won't be any shortage of hard work from now on.
"Soccer requires running, so I think the girls have to be ready to run and get in shape," Dolence said. "There is no reason we should get beat on the field athletically."
Rodriguez is familiar with the roster from his days as a U14 girls coach, while Dolence will need some time to get acquainted with her new team.
"It's about 50/50," Rodriguez said of his team's strengths. "Some girls have a lot of skill, some girls are faster, and I think the girls that came up with me will be really dedicated to the sport, and that should definitely help."
Rodriguez and Dolence will find out soon enough.
The team begins spring practices Tuesday.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org