Profile: Assistant Soccer Coach Brett Axelrod ’09

Sarah Debs

Class: 2009
Current Position: Assistant Soccer Coach

Sitting comfortably on a leather couch in Reid, Axelrod wears a grey Whitman College Varsity Soccer sweatshirt and appears refreshed, having just completed a long bike ride.

Credit: David Jacobson

What did you do after graduating?

I moved to Seattle for a little bit and was doing freelance photography. I couldn’t find a job so I came back to Walla Walla to do some volunteer soccer coaching.

How has your experience been working with both the women and the men’s soccer teams?
It has been stressful because they are two completely different mindsets. With the men, I can be direct, and it is a coach-athlete relationship that is more familiar to me. With the women, it is definitely a more personal relationship. I also have to learn how to work with players and coach to their strengths. While it is challenging coaching both men and women at the same time, it is all coming along.

What do you miss most about playing collegiately?
Definitely the physical competition. You don’t have anything like that in the working world.

What do you not miss?
The go, go, go mode. From 8 a.m. to at least one in the morning, six and a half hours of sleep, and then waking up to do it all again. But, that’s what college is all about: when else in life are you going to be leaving the library at one thirty in the morning?

Credit: David Jacobson

Favorite soccer memory?
We beat Whitworth two times when I first started coaching, which is great because we didn’t beat them at all when I was in college. When I was a freshman at our first weekend conference tournament we had two shutouts: Willamette and George Fox. It was such a good intro, I remember thinking to myself, “I can do this!”  and feeling elated.

Do you still keep in touch with your soccer buddies?

Oh yeah, I’m actually moving in with one in Seattle. We’re all in pretty constant contact. There were eleven of us [soccer players] in my senior class, and we used to jokingly call ourselves “The Legends” because we could field a whole team. And not just in numbers; we had a person for every position. It didn’t start off that way, we lost a few, picked up a transfer, and it just worked out.

Do you have advice for student-athletes?
Cherish every minute. These four years happen only once in life. One day you’re a freshman, and the next day you’re walking at graduation.