Allison Lipsher came to the University of Arizona before the 2011 season as the goalkeeper coach for the women's soccer team. As a former goalkeeper at Duke, the Boston Breakers and most recently the Atlanta Beat, Lipsher uses her past experiences to help young goalkeepers improve their skills.
Lipsher came to Arizona from Tufts University, where she was a volunteer coach.
"We are extremely excited about the addition of Allison to our staff for the fall of 2011," Arizona head soccer coach Lisa Oyen said. "She has an excellent reputation as a player and coach. She will not only serve as a great trainer for our goalkeepers, but also as a mentor for all of our players. We are thrilled to add her experience and knowledge to our staff and program."
Lipsher has her own impressive collegiate soccer career to reference in her new coaching job. She graduated from Duke, where she ranked second all-time in saves with 264 and fourth on the Atlantic Coast Conference, or ACC, career charts with 33 shutouts.
She was named to the ACC All-Freshman team, the Soccer Buzz All-Southeast Region All-Freshman team and set the school record for the longest consecutive time between goals. Lipsher relates her playing experience in the ACC to the newly expanded Pac-12 Conference.
"It is always a big honor to play in the Pac-12," Lipsher said. "It is good for the girls to play in a conference that is so competitive."
After a successful college career, Lipsher went on to win the 2008 Women's Professional Soccer League, or WPSL, National Championship and was named to the WSPL All-Tournament team.
Lipsher went on to start 10 out of the 11 games for the Boston Breakers in 2009, allowing only six goals. Her five shutouts were the fourth-best performance in WPSL history.
In 2011, Lipsher played seven games with the Atlanta Beat, making 47 saves and recording one shutout.
Lipsher's success as a player and love for the game motivated her to coach after college. She has a strong desire to pass on her knowledge to younger generations and uses her familiarity playing college soccer to connect well with the Arizona players.
"I definitely use my past experiences while coaching. I think anybody who plays soccer coaches eventually," Lipsher said.
"It is nice to coach high-level athletes so I can apply what I learned to teach them. I've always wanted to pursue coaching after playing but I'm not yet ready to hang up the boots. Being the assistant coach is a good way for me to start, and I jumped at the opportunity. It's the first time I've ever done anything during the off season. I'm learning more, and it's changing my views."
As a player, Lipsher had several different coaches during her career, but her coach at Duke, Robbie Church, stands out above the rest.
"A lot of my coaches are memorable, but my coach in college definitely was the first I connected with," Lipsher said. "He showed me my weaknesses and how I could improve them. I use the same approach now while coaching."
With Church's influence, Lipsher has come into this coaching job having only thoughts of improvement for the Wildcat goalkeepers.
"I came with no expectation and an unbiased opinion," Lipsher said. "My expectations set themselves for each goalkeeper, and we try to reach their goals in training and during games. So far I'm very proud. Being a goalkeeper is not an easy task. Seeing these girls work day in, day out, on and off the field has been a pleasant experience."