Get the Max With Minium: Hind is Rebuilding the Program the Right Way
By ODU Athletics
By Harry Minium
NORFOLK, Va. - Soccer is largely a man’s sport throughout much of the world. There are limited opportunities for women to excel as players and coaches and college athletics as we know it usually don’t exist.
Gender equity? It’s a foreign concept to many foreign nations.
As a national team coach in her native Scotland, Angie Hind worked 40 hours per week to pay the bills, and coached soccer on the side for free. When she was a player for the Scottish national team, her local club, for whom she worked and played, said she couldn’t go.
Why? They needed her to work.
“I wanted to take time off to go play for my country, and I couldn’t do it,” she said. “It was bizarre.”
Her national coach had to intervene, and offer to pay for a substitute to work for her, to gain permission for her to play.
That’s in part why when the Old Dominion women’s soccer coaching position came open four years ago, Hind didn’t think twice about applying. She’d coached at Dartmouth, so she knew the American system.
She made one phone call, to University of Virginia coach Steve Swanson, then went after the job with all of her heart.
“He told me that Old Dominion was a sleeping giant,” Hind said. “The ODU men do great and the facilities are fantastic. He said the location, next to Virginia Beach, was great, and that the school and fans here are very supportive.”
Hind arrived to find a program at a low ebb. ODU had won just one game the previous season. The players, she said, viewed playing varsity soccer akin to a rec league.
Many didn’t want to do off-season workouts. The entire culture of the program had to be changed.
Slowly but surely, Hind has succeeded in turning things around. Last season the Monarchs went 9-5-4, their best record since 2008. Now in her fourth season, Hind’s team hosts VCU Thursday night at 7 p.m. with a 2-1-2 record that could easily be 5-0.
ODU outshot and outplayed East Carolina and Appalachian State in double overtime ties. The Monarchs held a 23-8 shot advantage over App State, whom they absolutely dominated, except for putting the ball in the net.
In ODU’s only loss, a 2-1 nail bitter to George Mason in Fairfax, the Monarchs outshot the Patriots, 16-8.
Hind says ODU has the talent to have a marvelous season. All that it lacks is a bit of self-confidence.
“We’ll get there,” she said. “Sometimes we’re not cocky enough, not arrogant enough in a good way. They’re a little unsure of themselves.”
Getting ODU to this point took a lot of work, and a leap of faith by recruits. Hind reached out to every local soccer group shortly after arriving and said, “we want your players to come play for Old Dominion. We want local players.”
She has six local players now, including Cristina Bashara, a senior from Norfolk’s Maury High, and also has four international players, from Australia to Germany.
A commitment to academics is the one thing all of her players have in common.
ODU’s women’s soccer had the highest GPA of the university’s 18 athletic teams last season with a composite 3.52. Iris Achterhof, a senior forward from the Netherland’s who is ODU’s most dangerous scoring threat, has a 3.99 GPA in business and finance.
Achterhof got an A- in public speaking as a freshman. She’s aced every other course.
“If you get kids who work hard in the classroom, it resonates with who they are,” Hind said. “Kids who take pride in their academics want to do well in everything and they are usually disciplined.”
Achterhof was a soccer star back in Groningen, Holland, but was lured across the Atlantic Ocean by Hind’s unabashed, upbeat attitude.
“I wanted to be a part of a winning team that came from nothing,” she said. “I was inspired by Angie’s story. I wanted to be part of making a great program.”
Hind brought another Scottish coach with her – associate head coach Michelle Barr, who played and coached with her for more than a decade.
“I was an aspiring coach and she gave me my first job,” Barr said. “Working for her was a no-brainer. And I saw a big opportunity here, with the support from the administration we have and our facilities.”
Hind was head coach at Dartmouth for six seasons, where she went 54-38-8 and took her team to an NCAA tournament. But there was a ceiling on how far she could go there, because the Ivy League has stringent limits on offseason workouts.
She returned to Scotland in 2010 to coach for the national team, but realized her coaching career wasn’t going anywhere.
“The invitation from the national team really appealed to me,” she said. “But when I got home, the job was a little different than it had been sold to me.”
She was only able to work with the national team players three or four times per month. The rest of the time, they played for their local clubs.
“For me to coach professionally, I felt that I had to coach on the men’s side,” she said. “When I got to year four, I realized, I’m not going to get that chance. It’s a very male-dominated environment.
“Our international players often remind our kids here of how lucky they are. You don’t get the support, the facilities and a chance to get a college education outside of America. Everyone has tried to replicate the system in America and they can’t.”
ODU hosts the Conference USA tournament from Oct. 31 through Nov. 4, and Hind thinks the Monarchs will not only be competitive, but could win.
“We know where we’ve come from,” Hind said. “We’ve progressively gotten better and we’ve done it the right way, so our success will keep growing.
“This year we’re deeper than we’ve ever been. We have two players for every spot and we’ve never been close to that.”
Hind misses her homeland and her family, but says she plans to remain in America, and at ODU, for a long time.
“Fortunately, Old Dominion is located in a tourist area where there is so much to do,” she said. “During the summer, most of my family comes to visit me. And I go home every Christmas.”
“My only ambition now is to see this through,” she added. “It appeals to me to take a program that wasn’t in a good spot, build it up and then see how far you can go.
“I would like to make this a nationally ranked program. I’d love to see us consistently in the top 50.
“Everywhere else I’ve been, there’s always been a limitation. And right now, I can’t see any limitation here at Old Dominion.”