Turning up the passion: New AHS girls soccer coach has been around the sport for a long time

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Amber Rochat has been near a soccer field for a good chunk of her life and now she’s going to share her passion with the Austin girls soccer team.

Rochat, who has been an assistant coach with the Packers for the past eight years before serving as a middle school coach for two years in Kansas, is set to begin her first season as head coach of the Packer varsity girls soccer team. Rochat is excited about the opportunity and she’s looking forward to another season with her favorite sport.

“I was a (soccer) player my whole life. I started in kindergarten and I played a little bit in college,” Rochat said. “I’ve always loved the sport and I follow the pro leagues, but it’s also about the girls and the little family that we’ve become that keeps me coming back to coach.”

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Austin senior Marie Tolbert has been a varsity player for the Packers since she was in eighth grade and she’s familiar with working with Rochat as an assistant. Tolbert expects to see increased intensity from Rochat as a head coach.

“She’s really fun. I’ve been working with (Rochat) since I was in eighth grade and there is a big comfort level there,” Tolbert said. “This year I feel like she’s going to put more pressure on us to do better as a team.”

Austin junior Hannah Broberg said there is optimism amongst the Packers, who have played a lot of close games but struggled to win in recent years.

“I think a lot of people underestimate our team and they don’t know how much work we put in,” Broberg said. “A lot of us have been playing together for a long time and we’re more than just a team. We’re friends and family.”

Rochat is already focusing on making her team more aggressive. She wants her team to be fearless and motivated.

“My focus this year is making that attack and having a competitive nature,” Rochat said. “We want to go hard with all of our grit, be resilient and we want to embrace the hard teams that we’re going to meet. Communicating and building chemistry is really what I want to see out of these girls.”

Tolbert added that the team is welcoming any interested girls to come out and try the sport. She wants to see the sport grow under Rochat and she wants to score a playoff win this fall.

“We want people to stop saying ‘the girls soccer team is bad and that program is not going anywhere.’ We are good, we just need more people to join,” Tolbert said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun this year.”

Austin will begin its regular season when it hosts Jordan at noon on Aug. 26.