Right woman for the job: PCHS hires Damas
Former college star to take over the girls’ soccer team
Despite a brief hiatus away from the game, Micaela Damas is no stranger to soccer.
From being a high school star to a college stud to a professional MVP, Damas has quite the resume in terms of success in the sport. It’s for those reasons, among others, that led to Park City High School to hire Damas as its new girls’ soccer head coach for the upcoming fall season.
“I absolutely love the sport,” Damas said. “I was really sad when I left and wasn’t able to play anymore, so coaching is a great avenue to get back into the sport.”
Damas, also a teacher at the school, used to control the pitch as a star defender at Northern Illinois University. From there, she went on to play professionally for the North West Sydney Koalas in Australia, where she was voted the league’s MVP in 2011. Her success led to Damas’ decision to return to the United States in the Women’s Professional Soccer league.
It was at this time in 2012 that the league she was about to participate in folded, thus leading her down a path she never thought she’d go down — bobsled. After making the U.S. team that same year, Damas opted to move to Park City, where she could devote more of her energy into sport.
Though she was cut from the team right before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Damas said she learned things from bobsled that will aid her in her new venture of coaching.
“Bobsled allowed me to see a different side of athletics that soccer never really allowed me to see,” she continued. “Bobsled requires you to lift a lot and understand a lot about the physical body, which is easily transferable to soccer.”
And whether it was bobsled or soccer, Damas has always known the importance of carrying out responsibilities in sport, which is something she has already relayed to the team in a preseason meeting last week.
“The girls seem really excited,” Damas said. “They received their preseason packets, so they know what they’re responsible for over the summer. I told them what I’ll be responsible for, so if we all do what we’ve agreed to do, the season is going to start pretty quickly.”
Damas is taking over a program that has had the same head coach for the last 20-plus years in Chip Cook. The latter helped built the Miners up to what they are today, Damas said, and the new head coach doesn’t want to change any of that.
Rather, she hopes to just build on the legacy that’s already in place.
“[Cook] set an incredible foundation for me to work with,” Damas said. “I think the only new thing that I bring to the table is my expertise and my background. Being able to actually be at the high school is [also] a big deal because I see the girls all the time. They can’t really hide from me, so that works out. But besides that, my bobsled background and the professional aspect to say, ‘Hey, this is what you have to do to win a state championship or to play in college.’ To give them that discipline they need is what I’ll be bringing.”
Damas is admittedly excited about being back in soccer. She loves the idea of working with a team to achieve a common goal on the field, as well as maybe getting a few kicks here and there during practice.
However, that’s not what she’s most excited about.
“I am just really excited to be the head of a female program,” Damas said. “When I was growing up, there were a lot of males. It’s a male-dominated profession. The ability to be a female and kind of show them it’s not just about athletics; it’s about sports. It’s about your character development. It’s more all-encompassing than just on the field.
“I think that’s what I’m most excited about, to implement a program that prides itself on the character development part, so you can see the strides that we make off the field, as well.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.