Soccer is more than just a favorite sport for Alex and Andy Davidson.
Currently the coaches of Ball State women’s club soccer, the brothers grew up playing competitively at a young age, consistently practicing and honing their skills. However, it wasn’t a professional superstar who was their biggest inspiration — it was their mother, Tracey Warren.
“Growing up, I remember even well after my mom was out of college,” sophomore Andy Davidson said, “Going and sitting on the sidelines watching her play for fun at the fields. We’ve been involved since the earliest age we’ve been allowed to play.”
In the late ’80s, Tracey Warren helped found the Ball State’s women’s club soccer program because Ball State did not have a team. She was inspired to spread the sport to students looking for an outlet to play competitively.
Since Warren started the program, the team has had a multitude of coaches, but nearly 30 years later, her son, senior Alex Davidson, took over the head coach position in spring 2018.
When he became head coach, Davidson said, his expectations were mixed, but that has changed over the past year.
“[The team’s] past wasn’t necessarily great in terms of coaching,” Davidson said. “This year, I’ve come in with a lot higher expectations since most of these girls know me and have had a year under my belt. I understand the way they play, and they understand how I coach.”
Following Davidson’s transition to head coach, his brother Andy joined him as an assistant coach the following fall. Growing up with their mother’s guidance, the two look to not only represent her going forward, but also bring a developed style of coaching to the table.
“It allows [our players] to grow when you have coaches who understand the game and care about the program,” Alex Davidson said. “We put a lot of time into this team. When they succeed, it’s pretty rewarding.”
Since he and his brother began coaching together, Alex Davidson said, the two have brought a greater sense of cohesion to the program.
“I think we’ve instilled a lot of discipline,” Alex Davidson said. “In the past, we’ve had coaches who’ve showed up to practices or games hungover, or drunk or who have never played soccer before. We grew up playing soccer very competitively, so we understand the game a lot.”
The team’s president, junior Danika Merrill, credited her coaches with making practices tough while also rewarding and motivating. Merrill said the duo has made the team more competitive than in years past.
“Alex and Andy have brought a lot to the program,” Merrill said. “They give us some structure. We were kind of missing that until we had them. I think it’s pretty cool that their mom started this program.”
For anyone looking to try out for the team in the future, Alex Davidson’s message is clear and simple: Hard work pays off.
“I reward hard work,” Alex Davidson said. “If you don’t make the team the first time, then come out again. We have several players who didn’t make the team at first because they took a year to work harder.”