CANTON Lauren Lindesmith, who has connections to multiple Suburbanite-area schools, was named the new women’s soccer coach at Malone University earlier this month.
Lindesmith was tabbed as the new leader for a program that went 4-9-4 last season, including a 2-8-4 mark in Great Midwest Athletic Conference play. The 2010 Jackson High School graduate played collegiately at Walsh University and spent five years as a coach with Canton United Soccer Club.
"I’ve grown up in area and I got to play for (longtime Jackson head coach) Frank Gagliardi in both youth soccer and high school," Lindesmith said. "That was really a catalyst for myself and other players."
Along with her roots in Jackson, Lindesmith also spent two years as an Intervention Specialist at Green Local Schools and was named the district’s "Rookie of the Year" in 2015-16. She is married to former Malone men’s basketball player Jordan Lindesmith, who graduated in 2012 and is the nephew of Canton Central Catholic football coach Jeff Lindesmith.
Having played and later coached at Walsh for Dave Renard, Lindesmith knows well the NCAA Division II level at which Malone plays. Although it’s her first head coaching job, she is confident in her ability to take on the challenge.
"It’s a really humbling experience to be able to pour into athletes of this university, along with the faculty and staff," Lindesmith said. "Our students are exceptional and to have the opportunity to build young adults using soccer as our method, to pour into their spirit, is a great opportunity."
Walsh and Malone play in the same conference, so in that sense, Lindesmith takes over with a good idea of the level of play at Malone and what it takes to compete in the G-MAC. When she speaks about her new program, however, most of what she touches on has nothing to do with on-field tactics and the formation in which the Pioneers will play. She served as an assistant coach at Malone last season, further building her connection to the program.
Instead, Lindesmith focuses on the side of developing players as people, helping build and prepare them for life after college with soccer as the vehicle for that process.
Her own playing career included appearances in 68 matches for Walsh, tallying a total of 30 points and twice being voted to the All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team. She was a dean’s list honorees and was a team captain as well.
"Lauren is an outstanding young leader with the drive, determination and passion to accomplish our goals for Malone Women's Soccer," Malone athletic director Charlie Grimes said. "She truly loves not only the game, but also the process and patience required to build strong young women of faith through athletics. I look forward to seeing her challenge our students and support them in becoming the best they can be in all aspects of life."
"Playing at Walsh and being an assistant here, I know what we’re striving for and what we need to do to compete," Lindesmith said. "At the end of the day, I’m hoping to build young adults and help them transition into the world. I feel like you have a responsibility to be lifelong learner as coaches and I’m ready to work hard. We have motivated staff and a great group of returning girls."
All of those factors go into what Lindesmith hopes will be a smooth transition from the previous coaching staff to the new one. Rising from the 10th spot in the G-MAC standings to the top, where they can challenge league powers such as Ohio Valley, Ohio Dominican and Walsh likely won’t be an overnight process, but Malone’s new coach is now tasked with turning the Pioneers into a team capable of winning titles while also building its players into people who will be successful once their soccer careers are over.
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