Hayley Lavers (formerly Siegel) was a youth and college star as a player, before moving on to coach and training players at the youth, collegiate, and professional level. She was a member of multiple US Soccer youth national teams, and starred collegiately at Santa Clara University. After college, Hayley played professionally in Germany in the second division of the Bundesliga.
As a coach, Hayley has coached at Georgetown University (2011-2013) and Bethesda Soccer Club in Maryland (2011-2015) in the ECNL. She was also an assistant in the NWSL women's professional league with the Washington Spirit for the 2015 season.
What are your memories of playing youth soccer?
"There are too many to write! The best soccer memories I have come from my club days with Bethesda Excel. I had an innate love for the game and was fortunate to find a team with players and coaches that shared a similar passion and who challenged me consistently. It was a special environment and we had a true commitment to one another and the game that bonded us together. Many of the players are still my best friends today! I was always excited to train as a youth player - I would cry on rainy days when training was canceled. :)."
Why did you decide you wanted to be a soccer coach?
"Becoming a coach was never really a 'decision' for me, it was just always what I was going to do. I loved playing too much to ever walk away. My decision to work with youth players was both for technical and personal reasons. The technical part of the game is the base of everything and the only way to insure players can evolve with the game - and I want to impact that piece as much as I can. From a personal perspective, I am so grateful for my youth experience and wanted to be able to give back by working with young players who are starting their own soccer journey."
What coaching did you do before coming to FC Wisconsin?
"I coached some at every level before moving to Wisconsin. I was a college assistant at Georgetown University for several years, worked for Bethesda Soccer Club in the ECNL and was the Director of Coaching for a few months before I moved, and just recently was an assistant in the NWSL women's professional league with the Washington Spirit."
How would you describe yourself as a coach?
"I’m detail oriented, especially when it comes to technique. I’m naturally competitive, but care deeply about how the game is played and the intention of controlling the game with thought and skill. Other coaches tend to call me, “calm” on the sideline, but that may just be in comparison to them :)"
Describe what it was like to coach professionals and how the experience helped you be a better youth coach?
"It was a great experience coaching with the Washington Spirit. I enjoyed being around players who were so commitment to their game and improving day in and day out - wanting to analyze their game and hear feedback to maximize their potential. There was a great “professional” mentality I learned from and enjoyed being around.
There is no doubt being in that type of environment has helped me become a better coach in the youth game. Not only from a mentality and psychological standpoint, but also technically. It is amazing to me that the best pros are the ones who can do the simple technical skills consistently well. These players have spent a lot of time on the ball and creating great habits. I can share this message with young players and also incorporate the technical aspects in our own training sessions."
As a new coach at the club, what do you see as different or unique about FC Wisconsin?
"The overall focus and culture of competing is different here than anywhere else I have been. I often hear players holding each other accountable, which tells me there is a standard that is understood amongst all who are a part of the club. Also, the resources available for the players here are second to none … heart rate monitors, Fit for 90, the coach to player ratio, the ongoing TIP exercises, and so much more. This is truly a place for players who want 'more'."
How would you describe the FC Wisconsin experience to a parent?
"A club with extensive soccer resources and coaches who are truly dedicated to developing thoughtful, skilled, hard working soccer players and confident young women. There will be times a player is pushed and pulled out of their comfort zone and parents should expect this, it is simply a moment of growth and needs to be embraced."
Best advice you wish someone had given you as a youth player?
"Listen and believe in managing your “training loads” and understand the importance of rest. I wish I would have been given advice and guidance about periodized training instead of assuming that more was always better. The majority of players on my club team picked up at least one season ending injury in their college careers because of this, and many could have been prevented."
Hayley in 30 Seconds: