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Megan Ryan Nemzer has already changed the culture of women's soccer in Maryland

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With a record of 4-19-7 over the past two seasons, women’s soccer in Maryland was looking for answers.

Former head coach Ray Leone’s contract expired at the end of the 2021 season, and Maryland native Megan Ryan Nemsar has been hired with 15 years of experience on the Rutgers coaching staff.

Junior midfielder Sidney Urban was still with the Florida Gators when Nemzer was introduced, but when he heard that the current head coach would be joining the struggling program, he knew Maryland was the place. I was.

“When Meg was hired, the number of people who talked about how quickly this program could turn around based purely on coaching is just insane,” Urban said. please we had [Dayes] twins, [Alyssa Poarch]Maddie [Smith] in goal. All these people are back and the talent is out there. Talent has always been here. They didn’t have a coach to pull it off. ”

When the final whistle blew in Maryland’s Big Ten’s 1-0 victory over Michigan, the first chapter of what was expected to be a new era in the program was turned.

From the outside, they broke the 0-16-5 slump and won the conference for the first time in two seasons. But it meant so much more to the players in Terrapin’s locker room.

“Did you see us celebrating? It was like winning the World Cup,” said senior goalkeeper Madeline Smith.

Why was this victory so meaningful?

From the moment Nemzer took the podium at the introductory press conference last December, she explained the direction of the program.

“If you want to compete, be a good student-athlete, and be a good person, we have a place for you,” Nemsar said.

Nemsar was highlighted by the addition of 19 new players this season and 10 transfers alongside an all-new coaching staff. More than half of his 19 student-athletes have played this season.

“These transfers were an opportunity in Maryland, and at the end of the day, I’m grateful as a coaching staff, but I’m also grateful to the players who stayed there. And they become family. You did an incredible job,” said Nemzer.

A record of 2-3-5 to 10 games this year may not seem like much, but there’s more to this season than the win-loss results.

Under a new coaching staff, the starting lineup, which typically features eight rookies, tied the first four games before drawing with Georgetown’s elite school, then No. 24 Wake Forest.

After a heartbreaking losing streak against Illinois and the No. 4 Rutgers, Maryland is more resilient than it has been in years past.

“This year’s team motto is fightI think that’s what we do, honestly,” said Alumni defender Amanda Shaffer.

The group conceded multiple goals only once in 10 games, and in three losses the late winner conceded a goal.

Under Nemzer, it’s not just current players who talk about where Maryland is headed, but alumni as well.

Lindsay Simpson, Terps goalkeeper from 2004-2006 and still in the program, couldn’t contain his excitement for Nemzer.

“She’s the most positive person I’ve ever known. She’s the perfect person for this program right now,” she said.

And like Nemzer himself, Simpson reiterated genuine confidence in what the program will look like in a few years.

“The limits of what they can accomplish with this group are endless. She’s a great recruiter and will be competing for the national title in the years to come,” Simpson said.

Terps’ 2023 hiring class is projected to be in or near the top 10 in the country.

Nemzer’s vision is known, but the team must trust, listen and follow its prophecies.

“I wanted to be in the championship program. “Meg brings a lot of enthusiasm and passion to the program, and it lights a spark in all of us.”

When asked if there was ever a moment when it was clear that Nemzer was in charge of the job, Vinas and Urban didn’t hesitate.

“It’s early July and many other programs are still on vacation, but the girls are still at home. I was there,” Urban said.

It helped build the close-knit family that Nemzer describes.

“A lot of us didn’t know each other for a long time, but everyone was working for everyone. say.

This season could bring a lot of growing pains, but Nemzer has her group play with an incredible new mentality: a winning spirit.

“It doesn’t take two years to rebuild a program. We have the talent, we have the resources. The present is good and the future is good. But it’s not bad now, so go for it. Good now, good later. ‘ said Urban.