By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Renee Cantrell knows a thing or two about soccer.
She played soccer at Cascade back in 2000 before transferring out to West Salem when the school opened in 2002, reaching the playoffs in 2001 with the Cougars and 2002 with the Titans before going to Marquette University on a full-ride scholarship.
After a year with the Golden Eagles, Cantrell transferred and played at NCAA Division-II soccer at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio where she finished up her playing career. Recently, Cantrell returned to Salem and in 2014 and 2015, was an assistant coach under Kevin Plechl at Sprague High School.
“I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to have Plechl as a mentor,” said Cantrell. “Plechl taught me fundamentals of the game I was never taught by any other coach, he also taught me how to transition from a player to a coach and see a different side of the game.
“Soccer is my life and I believe I will have no problem making sure the girls understand the mental and physical aspects of the game while having fun doing it.”
During that time, the Cougar program had reached the 2014 State Final Game, falling to Valley Catholic in the Title Game under then-coach Skip Collins. Cascade reached the playoffs each for a five-year stretch between 2013 and 2017, but have gone 5-18-4 over the last two years.
Now back to where she’s grown up, Cantrell is excited to see what she can do as a first-time Head Coach.
“As a first year Coach in this program I believe it is going to be a wait and see what kind of talent we will get out on the field. Once tryouts begin, I will not only be looking for who has the talent; but who has the passion, drive and attitude to win games,” said Cantrell. “The Lady Cougars have had a lot of success dated back to when I played at Cascade in 2000.
“Turner and Aumsville may be small towns but are full of athletic talent just itching to show us Coaches what they can bring to the team and the program. I am ready to take on whatever is thrown my way and I am excited to meet the girls and get started. If we work hard and keep up the positivity, we can achieve anything this season.”
The Summer Soccer Season is still in the balance with the pandemic, but the Cougars are scheduled to kick off the Fall Sports season August 27 at the Woodburn jamboree. The first regular season game is scheduled for September 8 versus Oregon West Conference-opponent Philomath in Turner.