Cortney Wiesler didn’t have a female mentor growing up.
Ohio’s assistant coach played at the college level at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology and has plenty of experience in women’s college soccer. She held jobs as both an assistant coach and a head coach before coming to Ohio to assist coach Aaron Rodgers.
Yet she’s never had a female mentor to connect with. She wants to ensure that her players with the Bobcats don’t face the same issue.
“Growing up, I didn’t really have any big female mentors in my life,” said Wiesler. “I don’t want any of my kids to say that same thing later in life.”
Wiesler has been able to help the Bobcats this year by balancing the line between being a coach and a friend. Players look up to her as a coach, but they’re also not afraid to talk to her about their weekends, their personal lives or how school is going.
“She came in as a big role model,” senior Alivia Milesky said. “I was struggling a little bit in the spring with just knowing who to talk to when I needed a female coach.”
The players are glad to have someone who has played women’s college soccer as a person they can relate to and discuss any problems they have, and Wiesler has also helped some of Ohio’s older players step into leadership roles.
“She was able to relate a lot to me by showing me how to become the leader I am,” said Milesky, a senior midfielder.
Wiesler sees it as her duty to form relationships with her players that they may not be able to form with a male coach. She’s done plenty of work to help the Bobcats on-field performance improve, too, but her biggest impacts have come off the field.
“I’m pretty good at developing relationships with these kids,” Wiesler said. “I feel like I have a responsibility, not only to develop the soccer side, but also the female side, and just really be here for my fellow sisters.”
For Milesky, Wiesler has helped her step into a leadership role this season. Milesky leads Ohio with six goals this season and has been a significant part of what has made Ohio successful this year.
“I was able to understand what she wanted me to do off the field by contributing what I have as a leader,” said Milesky. “She has been able to push me to be the person I am.”
Wiesler has been a link between the players and the coaching staff, and her impact emphasizes the need for more female coaches in women’s college sports.
Only three of the of the 12 teams in the Mid-American Conference have female head coaches. Many MAC schools, however, do have at least one female assistant coach.
Wiesler wants to play a role toward changing that and opening opportunities for more females at the head coach position.
“I think that there are not enough female coaches in this game,” Wiesler said.
Female athletes need female role models and coaches, and Wiesler has made that happen for the Bobcats.