POI – From Sidelined to Sideline – Andrew L. Turns Injury into Coaching Career

Sometimes you can’t leave the game, especially when it’s in your blood. Andrew Lawrence was born with soccer in his blood, so when an injury prematurely ended his college career, he opted for an alternative route.

It’s easy to pick up soccer when your dad once played professionally in England, which is where his parents are from (it also explains why he is such a huge Liverpool F.C. fan).

Lawrence saw success in his early years, especially when he entered high school and started three years on varsity. He then accepted a scholarship to play at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

During his junior year, Lawrence suffered an ankle injury that put him out of commission for the rest of the season. He wasn’t going to spend the rest of the season on the bench, however.

“I really liked my coach and I always wanted to be a coach,” Lawrence said. “I attempted to come back and couldn’t do it by the end of the season, so he put me on the coaching staff.”

The move from player to graduate assistant came with its share of hurdles. Lawrence had to adjust to his new role without stepping over the boundaries from his friends and former teammates. It was a smooth transition because former teammate Eric Raplinger, who works with Walsh Washburn Accounting, said both sides respected each other.

“In his first year, he was pretty quiet,” Raplinger said about Lawrence’s coaching debut. “But as the season went on, he got more confidence and spoke up more. He had to learn what the head coach expected of them. None of the players had an issue with it.”

Now, he uses that experience to help coach competitive soccer for girls in their early teens, a drastic transition from coaching men in their early 20s. And he recently found out that he would be coaching two teams of his own next year.

So what’s next? With a Master’s degree in Business Administration, Lawrence wants to eventually start his own soccer club to develop young talent build it up to the same prestige as other local clubs.

He also plays for an indoor and outdoor soccer as he climbs the coaching ladder, and that’s where he realizes the value of coaching.

“I think it has actually made me a better player,” he said. “You can’t preach something and not do it yourself.”