Head women’s soccer coach Ryan Sander moves on from Simpson College

by Brock Borgeson, sports editor

After five years as head coach of the Simpson College women’s soccer team, Ryan Sander resigned from the position, announced Director of Athletics, Brian Niemuth Friday, Nov. 21.

Sander has accepted a coaching position at Waukee High School in Waukee, Iowa where he resides with his wife Elizabeth and three children, Sydney, Isaac and Owen.

Sander expressed to his team that being a father took priority over his position at Simpson.

“He came to the conclusion that that his kids are the most important thing to him right now,” sophomore midfielder, Bailey Wilmes said. “It’s good for his sanity and happiness, and he just needed something different.”

Coming to Simpson in 2010, Sander went 35-58-5, including four IIAC Tournament appearances, highlighted by a 13-6-2 record in 2011, the best record for the program since 2004.

Sander, who led Waukee to seven state tournament appearances in eight years, commented that more money and more time with his family were incentives leading Sander back to the sidelines at Waukee.

“Sander just came into my office and told me that he was taking a new job at Waukee, and that was it,” Director of Athletics Brian Niemuth said. “He said he’ll be making more money and be at home more, and it’s hard to turn those down.”

The women’s soccer team finished the final two seasons 6-32-2, a drought in the program that caused some conflict and frustration in a program that was simultaneously sifting through players who quit as well as some injuries.

“There was a lot of conflict,” sophomore midfielder, Katie Eichelberger said. “A lot of the girls were unhappy and that made him unhappy.”

Despite only scoring 10 goals in 19 games this season, allowing 2.51 goals per game, Sander coached 16 players to All-IIAC honors during his five years at Simpson.

With coaches being under 1-year renewable contracts at Simpson, Sander will remain at Simpson through the fall semester.

“We are starting a search and have advertised the position,” Niemuth said. “We’ve put together a search committee and I’d like to have somebody in place by the time he finishes at the end of December so someone can continue where he leaves off in terms of recruiting.”

Niemuth and the search committee will look for assistant coaches from higher levels of NCAA athletics and proven high school coaches with developed recruiting connections.

Whoever the coach is, women’s soccer hopes to get a leader in place soon as the program looks to get on track again both on and off the field.

“I’m hoping we find someone soon,” Wilmes said. “Because for the girls’ soccer program, we need to get acquainted with somebody and for there to be some leadership.”