Allen: ‘These are the types of kids and players I want to be around’
Women’s Soccer Head Coach Cristin Allen was inspired to play soccer because of her father, who was a coach. Growing up, they would always play soccer together, and that’s how she grew up to love the sport.
Allen has had a long career in soccer. She grew up in Ohio, where she played on her high school soccer team, and then went off to continue her soccer career at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
After graduating from college, Allen became the assistant coach for Saint Cecilia Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. Shortly after, she accepted assistant coaching positions at Goucher College in Maryland, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
She eventually found her way to Franklin College and fell in love with the environment.
“The atmosphere first and foremost is a very blue collar, Midwestern, hard-working mentality,” Allen said. “Then, when I met a lot of the girls, it just kind of confirmed that these are the types of kids and players I want to be around.”
She has always wanted to be around soccer and help others in some way. She said she felt coaching was the best way she could give back to her community and kids aspiring to do good things in their lives.
Allen replaced former Head Coach Justin Sullivan in July. Senior defender Jo List said the transition was difficult in the beginning because they had gotten used to one style of play and coaching.
Halfway through pre-conference matches, the team finally started to open up to the new coaching style, and the players started to flourish.
List said she was scared of having a new coach come in and was unsure of what her role would be on the team, but Allen brought back her love for the game.
“She pushed me to be a leader both on and off the field, which is something I hadn’t seen in myself in previous years,” List said. “She has become a mentor and friend to me, and I can’t thank her enough for all she has taught me.”
Allen said she didn’t have to make many changes in the program because she came into an already winning team.
After years of finishing second in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game, the Grizzlies won their first HCAC championship and an automatic bid to the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament, under Allen’s guidance.
The team lost to Arcadian University in Pennsylvania in the first game 3-1.
Out of the many years Allen has spent playing and coaching soccer, she said her most memorable moment was seeing the pure joy of the Grizzlies when they won the HCAC championship.
Being able to come to a team that was already in a good place and taking them one step further was satisfying for Allen.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about the wins and losses,” Allen said. “Winning the championship was great, but just seeing how they were able to overcome that barrier and I was able to be a part of that was a pretty cool thing for me.”