New Face Joins FIT Women’s Soccer Sideline, Practice Opens

By  //  August 15, 2015

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Heading into his first season at the helm of the Panther program, Florida Tech women’s soccer coach Dustin Smith has completed his staff with the hiring of former Belhaven assistant coach Jessica Monarch. (Florida Tech Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE FLORIDA – Heading into his first season at the helm of the Panther program, Florida Tech women’s soccer coach Dustin Smith has completed his staff with the hiring of former Belhaven assistant coach Jessica Monarch.

“I am most excited about being a part of Florida Tech’s vision and the culture of the women’s soccer program,” said Monarch.

“The level of NCAA Division II, the balance between academics and athletics, and what Florida Tech is trying to do in the highly competitive Sunshine State Conference is very appealing.”

Monarch served for two years as a graduate assistant coach for the Blazers in a role that very much resembled that of a full-time assistant.

Her responsibilities included planning and running practices, recruiting, organizing travel plans, budget planning and player development. Monarch also assisted with the operation of Belhaven’s summer soccer camps.

After earning her Master of Science in Sports Administration in May, Monarch stayed on at Belhaven as an assistant coach.

Monarch played collegiately at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama from 2008-12 where she played in 71 consecutive games, scoring 20 goals and recording eight career assists.

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She was an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American, the Southern States Athletics Conference Defensive Player of the Year and an All-SSAC honoree in 2011. Additionally, Monarch was named the Faulkner Student-Athlete of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

A standout in the classroom as well, Monarch garnered numerous academic awards during her time at Faulkner as well. She was a three-time SSAC Academic All-Conference selection, a two-time NAIA Scholar Athlete, a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree and was twice named Faulkner’s Champion of Character winner.

That vast array of experience is one of the primary reasons Monarch was selected from a talented pool of candidates to fill in the final piece of Smith’s inaugural staff.

Dustin Smith

Dustin Smith

“We are super excited to have the opportunity to bring in someone who not only has great experience playing but has also acquired some experience coaching at a high level,” Smith said.

“Coming from Faulkner and going to Belhaven, which is a well-respected program, we are excited to have Jessica join our staff and bring important experience.”

Monarch will hit the ground running with the Panthers, having already joined the team for the start of practice on Wednesday. Despite only being around the team for a few days, FIT’s newest coach already had a clear image of what she was expecting to see during the opening practice.

“I’m expecting to see an overall passion and excitement for this game and for the team’s hopes for the season,” said Monarch.

“It is the first day that the team is all back together officially. It will set a tone for not only the week but for the whole season. I think that hopeful tone of being equipped to fulfill their goals is what we are looking forward to see this week.”

The Panthers open the 2015 season on Aug. 18, hosting Brevard County neighbor Eastern Florida State in a 7 p.m. ET exhibition contest.


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