One of the hardest things for anyone to do in sports, whether it be professionally or at Springfield College, is to accept that their career is over. Usually, the more successful of a career someone has, the more difficult it becomes to “hang up the spikes.”
Jackie Moscardelli had one of the greatest careers in the history of Springfield College. She earned a pair of All-American honors. She was named to numerous All-American teams, and was named the conference’s “Player of the Year”, in both soccer and lacrosse. Honors like these make it even harder to call it quits, as far as playing days are concerned. But Moscardelli has found a way to stay involved in the program and within the sport that she loves, as she is now an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team.
For as brilliant an athlete as Moscardelli is, she was not able to transition seamlessly into being a coach. It was something that was foreign to her, and as some people will come to realize once they give coaching a try, a talented player does not always translate into a great coach, as it takes a completely different mindset and approach. Moscardelli is starting to realize this now, and feels she is becoming a better coach because of it.
“At first I was unsure how people would look at me as a coach, but Coach Gibson has helped calm my nerves,” said Moscardelli. “He gives me the chance to prove my knowledge of the sport to the players, yet I am still able to learn from him and the rest of the coaching staff every day. This is a whole new learning experience for me. By the end of this season I hope to feel more comfortable with coaching at the college level, while absorbing as many ideas as possible that revolve around the basic skills and tactics of soccer.”
Head Coach John Gibson defined Moscardelli as having “high energy” and a “big heart” as a player, something that he surely would want her to preach and try to teach while coaching this year’s team. Usually a coach only gets his charismatic star player in his program for four years, but Gibson is getting the treat of having Moscardelli for that many years and more.
“I am very pleased that Jackie has joined the coaching staff this season,” said Gibson. “I look forward to working with her and seeing her continue to contribute to the program she has done so much as a player to mold.”
Towards the end of her senior season, when one talked to Moscardelli about the finality of her career, she refused to look ahead and instead wanted to live in the moment for as long as possible. Understandably, she did not want to waste a moment of her time as a player here, and while she knew the “real world” was right around the corner, she felt she could afford to put it off for a few more months. That is not the case anymore, as Moscardelli has finally gotten some time to reflect.
“Being around soccer everyday forces me to think about my soccer experience at Springfield. I try to use my experience to help the younger players and challenge the returners to be the best they can be,” said Moscardelli. “My career at Springfield was a great chapter in my life. The success was because of my teammates and coaches that pushed me to limits that I didn’t know I could reach. My teammates became my best friends on and off the field, and our friendship is what I will have forever.”
Even when reflecting on a truly impressive career, a time when one could afford to be a bit cocky or full of themselves as they reminisce, Moscardelli remains modest and humble as she credits her coaches and teammates for the opportunities she was presented with as a member of the Pride. She is now using the memories she has from her own career to do everything in her power to help the current roster win games and be as successful as they can be as a unit.
“It’s important for the young players to know that they need to challenge themselves every day,” said Moscardelli. “At the beginning it can be tough to adjust and feel comfortable, but once the nerves settle down, challenging themselves and enjoying the opportunity to play is what I hope every player does.”
Just because Moscardelli wears the coach title now, and is no longer eligible to play at the collegiate level, it does not mean she does not still have the desire to play. She tries to jump in to as many drills as possible, and she stated that she misses playing more than she misses the successes that came along with it. Moscardelli is a good example of a few important things in sports, as she never wasted a moment of her career, and she understood why she was doing that. Also, she is now realizing that one can still have an impact on the game or the program once their playing days are over, and Jackie will find a way, as she always does, to succeed, and be a great coach for the women’s team.