Women’s Soccer Adds Two Assistant Coaches Ahead of 2020 Campaign

Eric Fishbin, Sports Editor

Colgate women’s soccer head coach Lyndsae Hokanson added two assistant coaches to the staff in February 2020—just three months after Athletic Director Nicki Moore hired Hokanson in December 2019 to lead the team following 29-year head coach Kathy Brawn’s resignation the prior month.

Coach Hokanson looked to add members to her staff who would benefit the players on the roster, primarily, but also learned that she needed to bring in people she could work effectively with over the course of a season.

“The search really evolved as it progressed for me. Having it be my first time hiring, I was acutely aware of how important getting the right people here with me was,” Hokanson said.

With that in mind, coach Hokanson, Colgate University and the Raiders welcomed coaches Lizzy Johnson and Haley Miller to campus after conducting a thoughtful, nationwide search during the 2019-20 season.

Johnson, a midfielder-turned-forward and engineering major and mathematics minor at Vanderbilt, started her coaching career with the Tallahassee United Football Club (94/95 Girls) as the head coach.

After spending time in Florida, Johnson went to California. On the West Coast, she followed up serving as the Director of Coaching at San Mateo County Football Club to landing the San Bruno Lowen Soccer Club U16 Girls head coaching gig.

Then, she made the leap back into the college soccer scene and moved back to the East Coast. Johnson worked as the assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania under Douglas N. Brush head coach Nicole Van Dyke for three seasons and helped the school win its first Ivy League title since 2010.

“From the moment I had a chance to sit down with [Johnson], I was impressed by her knowledge, her demeanor, her wisdom, and her deep understanding of the opportunity here at Colgate. Coming from an esteemed program and institution like Penn and the leadership and success she had there with their soccer team, I know her translatable skills will allow for an immediate and seamless transition and instant addition to what we’re hoping to build here,” Hokanson said.

Miller, a four-year letter-winner, was the captain of the James Madison University women’s soccer team in 2013—her senior year—and helped lead the team to a Colonial Athletic Association regular season title.

“Having played with and against [Miller] growing up, I know what a fierce competitor she is, and the hardworking mentality that drives everything she does. But beyond that, it has been a joy and privilege to watch the immense growth and learning she has done over the past decade under some of the best coaches our sport has seen in recent history,” Hokanson said.

After graduate school at James Madison, Miller joined the Villanova University women’s soccer coaching staff for two seasons. Miller returned to JMU for the 2017 season, then made the jump to the Big Ten.

At Penn State, Miller worked two seasons as a volunteer assistant and made an impact among the players and coaching staff—standing out as a hard-worker who was willing to help the team win.

“One of her biggest strengths is how caring she is… [it’s] to the point where she was more than willing to do anything that was asked of her to help the team be successful. One day she she could be running our training session, the next day she could be making PB&J sandwiches for the players to eat before games, the following day she could be cutting clips from games so that people could watch their individual film. It didn’t really matter what the task was. She did everything without a complaint because she wanted what was best for us, and we are all definitely going to be miss having such a selfless coach around,” Penn State women’s soccer junior midfielder Shea Moyer said.

In 2018, Miller and the Nittany Lions fell one penalty kick short of a Big Ten title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament. After beating South Carolina and Wake Forest, the team lost to Florida State 1-0 in Tallahassee, FL.

Johnson and Miller are expected to bring a dynamic and national perspective to Beyer-Small Field in the 2020 season. As they have the spring and summer to settle in Hamilton, scouting and strategic planning will start soon. Hokanson is exciting to welcome these additions to the team.

“I am perhaps most excited for the opportunity for [Johnson] to provide our players with a unique perspective on life and the game based on her own professional background. She’s a great fit for this staff and this institution, and I am thrilled she will be joining our team,” Hokanson said. “[Miller] has a tremendous energy about her, a willingness to learn, and an eagerness to bring the best out of everyone she is around. I couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to sit next to her on a sideline instead of across from her.”

In 2019, the team finished 5-9-4 (3-3-3 in the Patriot League) and was knocked out by Army in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament in a 0-4 loss on November 5, 2019. After losing eight graduating seniors, the 2020 Raiders’ roster will feature eight seniors, ten juniors, five sophomores and eight first-years under the recently rounded out coaching staff. Kickoff is set for late August.