It was announced on Jan. 11 that Ron Rainey would become the next head coach of Albion women’s soccer.
Before joining the Britons, Rainey held the head coaching positions at the University of Iowa, Ball State University and most recently Dartmouth College. Throughout his career, he’s inherited different levels of the game, which offers Albion a unique opportunity to grow as a soccer program.
Coming from a family deeply rooted in the world of sports, Rainey said soccer has always been his ultimate passion, and he gravitated toward becoming a coach early.
Rainey said he came to Albion because he met good people and saw Albion as a place with opportunities for his family.
“The visit out here was awesome,” Rainey said. “The people here are nice and friendly, you want to be around a group that is going to be fun to work with.”
Rainey added that the feeling of a positive working environment influenced his decision to join the community Albion has to offer.
“If you are around people who are motivated, people that are self-aware and want to work hard, that usually leads to really good job satisfaction,” Rainey said.
Albion College is the perfect place for close relationships to not only develop, but help nurture common goals for success. It’s important to Rainey that there’s a sense of excitement in the athletic department and not just on his team.
Even while discussing the previous jobs that he had in years past, Rainey is always looking for players that are willing to contribute to the team on and off the field. Commitment is a big trait he looks for in athletes.
“They have to have this balance where they’re getting better as students, athletes and as people,” Rainey said. “They also want to breathe life into the program by supporting all the teammates around them.”
Rainey said that at Albion he hopes to build relationships that will last. Being able to connect with his former players after they’ve moved on is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. Preparing girls for the next stages in life has always been important to him, but specifically “seeing somebody go from freshman year to fitting in and seeing their character grow in all ways possible” is the sweetest of them all.
There’s never been a time when he wasn’t adapting to new trends in soccer. Rainey noted that a committed coach always takes the time to learn more; whether it’s speaking with other coaches or analyzing different strategies, he is willing to become the best version of himself for the benefit of the athlete and school.
The athlete always comes first to Rainey. He said he loves to speak with the players to set the standards. For next season, Rainey believes that installing the mindsets so many other teams on campus have already will be beneficial.
“Looking at what’s working with other programs here at Albion, we’re gonna incorporate those traits into our program and potentially get to a higher level,” Rainey said. “There will be some sacrifices, and it won’t be easy.”
Hard work will not just be done by the players but on Rainey himself. He insisted that it is also his job to put in the effort and invest in the community to better connect with the people around him.
“With athletics, academics, or social life, it’s on me to dig into the culture,” he said.
With the support of former head coach Eric Scott and current assistant coach Emily Brittain, Rainey wants to take the success of the program – which had a winning record last fall – and elevate it. He said he does not want to reinvent the identity of the program.
The proclamation seemed inevitable, but Rainey hinted at the long-term goal of keeping the women’s soccer program at the top of the MIAA; a championship run is on the horizon.
“In the end, I believe if we max out on our ability to play, we should be talking about winning a championship in this league,” Rainey said.