“Hey Hopkins, yo can you help me out with this? “Hey, you talking about soccer?” These are some of the student comments often heard upon entering Northampton High School junior varsity girls soccer coach and English teacher Emily Hopkins’s room.
This is Hopkins’s second year coaching the junior varsity girls soccer team and teaching English. “I played soccer here, and I want (my players) to remember their season as fondly as I do.I want them to not only get better…as players but as people. If there is a kid who wants to play on varsity I will do anything I can to help them do that.” Hopkins expressed gratitude to be able to return to her alma mater to both teach and coach. “It was a stroke of magnificent luck that I got a teaching and coaching position here”.
Hopkins embraced the team mentality because of her experiences playing soccer in college. “I love team sports (because you’re able to grow, be social and connect with people).”
Striving to provide her athletes with an enjoyable soccer season, and doing her best to help them fulfill their dreams has been one of Hopkins’s major goals since she started coaching last year.
Athletes Sophia Renauld and Nellie Sanders agree. “I love the sport and team attitude. It’s a lot of fun,” Renauld said. Sanders backed up Renauld’s comment by saying, “I feel accepted by other girls and we have an amazing coach. I think we work pretty well together.” This camaraderie is evident when entering Hopkins’s classroom, where one can see the broad, smiling faces of girls.
“I love being around kids and getting them invested in something they enjoy more than school or getting up for first period,” Hopkins said. From the smiling exchanges between Hopkins and her athletes, it is clear that these girls have a real bond with their coach. Her back to basics coaching approach is a way of ensuring that each kid has an equal chance of developing bonds with their teammates and becoming well rounded soccer players. “I try and have new athletes and even those that have been playing for a while to just pass the ball around. No matter how good you are, sometimes in life, we all just need to pass the ball around.”