Eric Welch, Staff Writer
Coach George Easter enters his first season as head coach for the women’s soccer team. Photo//UM-D Athletics
The new head coach of the University of Michigan-Dearborn women’s soccer team, George Easter, loves soccer - and his team reflects that. As I walk over to their practice Monday night, I can hear the team chatting and laughing. As I get closer, I see them all smiling during warmups. The team is having fun, and that is the way Coach Easter wants it.
He explains as we talk on the sidelines, “If we are not having fun, what are we doing out here?” Easter wants his team to experience the joy of the game the way he does. For him, soccer has always been an outlet, a place to have fun and enjoy life.
Make no mistake, when the team hits the pitch, the fun and games are over. It is time to get down to business. Easter has his team playing with a fire in their belly and a strong will to win; this team has fight and they attack their opponents with fury.
Players leading the way for the Wolverines this year are seniors Natalie Bicego, Gabriella Teems, and Madalyn Mosallam, as well as junior Sam Kuszynski. Also, look out for senior Katherine Costello, who finally has a chance to showcase her talent since injuries have plagued her career.
Coach Easter also looks to sophomore midfielder Emmi Pinkowski as a future leader and expects freshmen Dalya Dakroub and Tyler Samples to be a force on the backline not only now, but for years to come.
Easter, along with his assistant, Amber Klavon, will get the team ready for each opponent by studying film and getting the team in the right mindset. He wants his players prepared for each and every match.
I asked Coach what his expectations are for year one after only one conference win and two overall wins last season. His response was, “win more.” He also said, “this team believes that they can win now, our goal this year and every year is playoffs.” Easter believes that three or four wins in the conference will get them in.
What games on the schedule do Coach Easter and his team have circled? His answer was, “all of them.”
Top teams in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) historically are Madonna, Aquinas, and the University of Northwestern Ohio. Easter believes any one of them can be upset on a given day. The Wolverines, with an overall record so far of 1-1-1, begin conference play this Saturday, September 24, as they play visitor to Madonna at 11:00 a.m.
Easter began playing soccer at the age of six for the Wayne/Westland Soccer League, which was later renamed Arsenal. He went to high school at John Glenn High School, where he also played soccer.
Easter then studied electrical engineering at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and graduated in 2012. At the time, UM-Dearborn did not have a men’s soccer program. Easter instead played with the Michigan Premier Soccer League, which faced college level talent.
Easter’s coaching career began on a whim when a friend asked if he would be interested in coaching a team of six-year old’s on the Dearborn Heights soccer club. Easter fell in love with coaching and worked his way up to the high school ranks where he has coached for his alma mater, John Glenn, as well as Waterford Mott High School.
In 2019, Easter was hired as an assistant to the women’s soccer program at UM-Dearborn. He has also worked as an assistant coach with the Detroit professional club, Detroit City Football Club women’s team.
The professional environment puts a lot of pressure on coaches and players alike to succeed. According to Easter, DCFC “runs a tight ship” where he learned just as much from the players as they did from him. “Working at that high level prepares you for the collegiate level,” said Easter.
His time as an assistant coach taught him what it takes to be successful at the collegiate level. He enjoys the process of teaching his young players to be the best they can be.
Easter is a Wolverine. He cares about this university and he cares about his players. He wants to be a part of their success both on and off the pitch. After our interview, I have no doubt he will excel at both. Welcome home coach, and congratulations on the promotion!