Nicole Barnhart left her coaching position at Stanford to pursue a playing career in women's soccer. Luckily she won't be too far away.
Stanford grads and Olympians Barnhart and defender Rachel Buehler will play for the yet-to-be-named Bay Area team in the Women's Professional Soccer league.
Stanford's current volunteer coach, Albertin Montoya, will take the helms of the team. Montoya, a Santa Clara grad, also coaches the Youth MVLA Soccer Club, where Stanford freshmen Teresa Noyola and Lindsay Taylor honed their skills for several years.
"I am so excited to have been placed on the Bay Area team," Buehler said. "I have many friends and supporters in the region and the Bay Area really has become a second home to me. I can't wait to play with Barnie, my former Stanford teammate. I feel like this league will provide a great opportunity for me to learn and improve as a player."
The league will begin its first preseason training camp on March 1, with games tentatively set for the first weekend of April.
"Hopefully this means a lot of fans will come out and watch us play," Barnhart said. "There are a lot of kids in the Bay Area involved with soccer, and hopefully we can be role models for them, and the fact that we grew up playing college ball in the area will draw out a lot more people who want to come out and see us play at the next level."
The Bay Area franchise was awarded two weeks ago, replacing the Dallas entry, which will compete in the league's second season.
"To have the Bay Area get a team at the last minute, and to think I can play for them and for it to happen like this, it's seriously so crazy it worked out like this," Osborne said.