By Ryan Kaczmarski
When faced with a vacancy at the head varsity soccer coaching position, Magnificat High School did not have to look very far for someone to fill the void. The Blue Streaks found the coach right in their back yard, in Gretchen Micklitsch, a Bay High School graduate and Rocky River resident.
“I’m really excited, mostly because I know how much talent is (at Magnificat) and how successful this program can be, I think, with the right leadership,” Micklitsch said. “Magnificat has always been strong in athletics and I feel that Mags is always everyone else’s rival. It will be great to be a part of that.
“When I was in high school, every time you went against Magnificat, it was a big deal. They always have first-rate athletes, so you know it was going to be a good game.”
As a player, Micklitsch was the captain of the inaugural girls soccer team at Bay High School (1987), a member of the East-West Soccer Club and the East-West Ambassadors soccer team (playing in Europe and Australia). She played college soccer at Duke University, where she earned All-Academic honors, then moved on to play Pro-Am women’s soccer for the Cleveland Eclipse.
She holds United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National “B,” and youth coaching licenses. She has coached locally for the Ohio Youth Soccer Association North’s Olympic Development Program (ODP), the Liberty FC U10-U16 teams, the Rocky River Soccer Organization (RRSO) and Bay High School. She also has international coaching experience with the East-West Ambassadors European Tour (U16-U18) and the Karlsruhe SC (Germany).
“Since I’ve been back in the area, I’ve been in the trenches of youth soccer,” she said. “I coached in Rocky River and was on the RRSO board (as the girls soccer director).”
While with RRSO, Micklitsch added a girls U8 academy.
In early March, Magnificat had a “Meet the Coach” meeting for the returning soccer players and their parents.
“I knew some of the girls already, because of the ODP program and just living in the community,” Micklitsch said. “We went over the summer conditioning schedule and what was going to be expected of the girls. We had another meeting in May for the girls and the incoming freshmen, where I went over the details of what (the players) can expect at tryouts.”
“I’m a proponent of good fitness,” she added. “I’m going to give them a ‘Cooper Test’ (a 12 minute run named after Kenneth H. Cooper in 1968 for U.S. military use) so I can gauge (the physical fitness level) that the girls are at. Also, it motivates them to work over the summer, because they know they are being tested.”
The Magnificat girls varsity soccer season begins Aug. 20 against St. Joseph Academy at Rocky River High School.