All-American joins BYU coaching team

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    By Jeremy Twitchell

    Most opposing forces in life are divided by the thinnest of lines: love and hate, success and failure, winning and losing.

    For Aleisha Rose, who spent the last four years becoming a household name around BYU for her contributions to the women”s soccer team, the sideline at South Stadium is the thin line between past and future.

    Rose, a four-time All-American who led BYU to its best season ever during her senior year in 2003, is now helping the team from the other side of the line after joining the coaching staff as an undergraduate assistant this season.

    “Since I can”t play to help BYU, it seems like I should do something else to help,” Rose said.

    Head coach Jennifer Rockwood first approached Rose about becoming an undergrad assistant at the end of last season. Although she was somewhat hesitant at first, Rose agreed to help out at BYU”s summer youth camp and see if she could get a feel for coaching.

    Looks like she kind of liked it.

    “Aleisha hasn”t done a lot of coaching yet, because she”s been so much of a player,” Rockwood said. “But she did camps this summer and you can really see where she”d be a tremendous teacher and a tremendous coach.”

    As an undergraduate assistant, Rose is limited in how much she can work with the team, but coaches say they are excited for what she brings to the team and hope to keep her around.

    “She”s a tremendous player that has a lot of respect and knows the game very well,” Rockwood said. “With her experience, and the level of play that she”s at, she”s a great person to have around. She”s good at talking with the girls individually at practice … so we hope to have her around in a more full-time position, hopefully, down the road.”

    Rose primarily functions as a consultant at this point, watching practice and giving feedback to players and coaches. When the team goes on road trips, she runs practices for the players who stay behind.

    “She understands the game really well,” senior midfielder Krissa Campbell-Reinbold said. “She has an ability to see things and help players correct what they”re doing wrong. Whereas sometimes you see it, but you”re like ”What can I do to tell them,” she sees it and she knows what to tell you because she just knows the game that well.”

    Rose admitted the transition from playing to coaching in just one year has been slightly awkward at times as she has tried to change her relationship with her former teammates.

    “Sometimes I”ve had to bite my tongue,” she said. “When you have a friendship with the girls, it”s difficult to tell them what they”re doing wrong.”

    Nevertheless, Rose said she is getting used to the job, and she hopes do be able to do it long-term after she graduates in April with a degree in Marriage, Family and Human Development. She says she has no other post-graduation plans.

    Rockwood, for her part, is doing all she can to make Rose a permanent fixture on the coaching staff.

    “I know that”s something that she”s very interested in,” Rockwood said. “We just have to get some approval from administration to get another full-time assistant coach. Right now, we just have one.”

    A future in coaching would be a major career change for a woman who, just a few years ago, was a rising star on Team USA. But after three years with the team, Rose left at the age of 19, citing Sunday play as the main reason.

    “It wasn”t a hard decision at the time, but it was afterward when I started to miss it,” Rose said. “It”s hard sometimes, but when you know something is right and you feel good about it, you don”t have any regrets.”

    Rose clearly has no regrets – talk to her now, and she”ll be quick to discuss the talent level of this year”s team or her future as a coach. She had a great career, but all that matters now is helping other girls do the same.

    “[Having Aleisha here] means a lot,” Campbell-Reinbold said. “It means she cares about us and you can tell she loves the game, too. It”s good inspiration when you”re struggling, to see someone who still loves the game so much that they”d stay and coach for a year.”

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