Coach Profile: Winona Cotter's Marie Barrientos

Name:Marie Barrientos


School and sport:Winona Cotter girls soccer

Subject(s) you teach:I don't work at the school, just coach. I am the executive director at the Winona/Goodhue Co American Red Cross

Education:Supervisory Management & Business


Family: Husband Justin, children Karianna & Benjamin, with one on the way; I am due Christmas Eve

How would you explain your coaching philosophy?It is pretty straightforward... as a coach it is my goal to best prepare these athletes on and off the field for each soccer game and life in general. I expect a lot out of the kids I coach but have very few rules to a season. It is pretty simple: show respect, work hard, and have fun doing it! Coaching is more than a game. It is helping these young adults learn to balance school, home life, and athletics. I rarely have a specific plan going into the season when it comes to strategy because each year is different. Each year we have different strengths, development areas, and athletes. I like giving athletes, not only the varsity captains, a chance to lead. We take time on and off the field to discuss our team, tactics, positions, and what it takes to raise the bar. This is very valuable and time well-spent. Once you get to a game situation there is only so much guidance you can give, it is in the athletes hands... and that is a great place to have it if you have prepared them to the best of your ability. Coaching is the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a young adult!!!

What memory(s) from your career sticks with you the most?The pure joy and excitement the girls had on their faces last year when we tied La Crescent. On a tougher note, seeing the disappointment and tears in their eyes when we lost in a shootout during playoffs. Off the field, took the girls to the lake this year to do some problem solving and team building. We had them in double canoes and had them trying to work together in a way they had never done before. They were challenged by not being able to talk or certain people could talk, but watching them try to figure it out and then race each other... fun times!

What is the biggest challenge in coaching?Finding the right words to help motivate so many different personalities at the same time.

What hobby or activity do you most enjoy during the offseason?Spending time with my husband and kids. We love the outdoors... going to the park, bike rides, walks, gardening, camping!

Please relate an occasion when your athletes learned something they could carry with them off the field.I think that with sports this is something they learn each and every day they come to practice. It isn't just a game on the field, it relates to life in every aspect. From team work to practice, persistence to skill, winning and losing graciously to respecting others even if you don't always agree, finding the balance between fun and business, believing in ourselves to trusting teammates and coaches, and simply making sure that we have used our time efficiently and effectively to best prepare ourselves with the necessary tools to succeed. Isn't that what life is about too? Learning to find balance, believing, trusting, and being prepared... all while having fun!

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