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The Antelope

New women’s soccer coach fosters family culture

KOLTON MATUREY / ANTELOPE STAFF Rob Breton high fives Isabella Whiston during his first week of practice.

After a game of musical chairs, Rob Breton is the new head coach of the UNK women’s soccer team. He is the fourth head coach in the history of the program, which started in 2009. 

Neil Piper, who previously accepted the position in February and coached one exhibition match, abruptly resigned in March. With the job void, the Lopers decided to bring back Breton, who was considered during the initial search.

Breton has been on the coaching scene in West Virginia for about seven years and is excited to take the next step in his career with the Lopers.

“The first thing I’m trying to build is more of a family connection within the ladies,” Breton said. “They all really get along and like each other, but I think discipline and accountability are two huge things that tend to really lead into a winning mentality. I think that mentality is where the girls are going to grow the most over the next few weeks and into next season.”

Even though last Monday was his first time at practice with the team, Breton has already started to make an impact.

“He’s brought so much energy,” said sophomore defender Dolcie Hanlon. “You can just tell he’s ready to start this program and build a program. He’s all in, which is really nice and I think we really needed that, a soccer coach that was just ready to give all of his effort to us.”

Players have recently been planning their goals for success as a team for the upcoming season.

“A big thing that he’s preached so far is a we-not-me mentality,” said redshirt junior defender Lily Engeman. “Team goals over individual goals. As a team, our goal is just to win more, work hard, work as a team and just do the best that we can.”

While Breton has been working on teaching different playing styles to the team, he has also embraced creating a lighter atmosphere where players can practice hard while still having fun.

“He’s been super enthusiastic, but then also strict,” Hanlon said. “Whipping us into shape, while also goofing around with us. I think he’s created a really good atmosphere so far.”

For the last four years, Breton has been an assistant coach at Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia. He was also head coach at Salem University for a few weeks before coming to UNK. 

Prior to coaching, Breton played soccer at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Though living in Nebraska has been a change, Breton is embracing the new city that he now calls home.

“I absolutely love Kearney,” Breton said. “This town is great. There’s a great population, it’s a great soccer community and everyone’s very friendly and open. It makes me feel like I’ve been home since the day I got here.”

Breton is thankful for the opportunity with the Lopers and he hopes to create a winning attitude on the team in the coming seasons.

“It’s one of those places where you go there and you’re like I think I could stay here for a while,” Breton said. 

The Lopers will finish their spring slate of matches soon, facing Concordia University on April 24 and Iowa Western on April 30.

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KEVIN BURD, Sports Edior
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