Coaching Comes Calling For Liming

2015 St. Marys graduate Skylar Liming
Sports Editor

After a four-year soccer career at Bluffton University, St. Marys graduate Skylar Liming is continuing her academic and athletic career at another college. 

Liming is an assistant coach for the Defiance College women’s soccer program while striving to get her masters in business administration with a concentration in leadership.

And despite her playing days being over, Liming is still involved in the sport she loves.

“Just being on the sidelines is so much different than actually being involved in the game,” Liming said. “Playing in a game, if there was something wrong, I could go do it and fix it, but now I have to relay the message and relay it correctly to the players so they understand what I am talking about so they can do what they need to do on the field.”

Liming graduated from Bluffton this past spring after studying business administration and sports management but wanted to further her education and also have the opportunity to further her athletic career and Defiance College gave her that opportunity as a member of interim head coach BJ Pheasant’s coaching staff.

“Just playing soccer for so many different coaches all meant so much to me and I looked up to them [and] they made me enjoy the game of soccer more,” she said. 

Liming got a taste of coaching when she was asked to coach high school players who competed in the Hogg Creek Soccer League over the summer, which has a few St. Marys student-athletes who compete. Liming added that ever since she began coaching the league four years ago, she thought to herself, ‘I want to do this, I want to coach. I want to be that person for someone else.’

With a coaching position, however, comes hours of work and responsibility for the St. Marys alum.

Liming’s day usually begins around 7 a.m. where she would workout or just make time for herself. By 10 a.m., she is in the office either watching film, contacting recruits or other behind the scenes work that assistant coaches do as well as having regular meetings with players about school, life and just checking on them. By the time practice rolls around later in the afternoon, Liming then works on her own duties as a grad student in attending her classes from between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. before working on homework or working at another job. Her night ends with trying to cram in any other coach-related responsibilities for the next day before heading to bed.

Liming explained that some of those behind the scene tasks include setting up a practice plan, calling places to make sure food is ready when the team travels and hotels are booked as well as other jobs.

“My day is usually 10 a.m. to midnight, sometimes I am in here at 7 a.m. so it is long hours,” Liming added. “Which some people just don’t understand that there are a lot of behind the scenes work, especially at the college level, that you gotta go through just to make sure that everything is on point for your team.”

But with the responsibilities comes the rewarding feeling a young coach gets to experience. 

Liming added that coaching her now only allowed her to coach the game, but also give life lessons along the way. Coaching has helped her use different communication styles to be able to reach different players to relay what message needs to be sent to her players. She also added that coaching has opened the door for her to be an inspiration.

“I liked the coaching aspect and being on the practice field with the girls,” Liming said when asked what she likes about her assistant coaching job the most. “Just seeing them enjoy the game of soccer and throwing in those coaching points so they understand it and then seeing them do it in a game, I love because I think, ‘yes, we just did that in practice a couple of days ago and now we are performing it.’ That is my favorite part.”

Liming, however, stated that it has felt different to put on another hat. 

She was a player once with St. Marys looking at a college when Bluffton University recruited her, now she is doing the recruiting and reaching out to high school players.

In addition, girls who she used to follow and root on in the St. Marys soccer program, are now girls Liming is scouting and hoping to recruit as future Yellow Jacket players.

But she gained some of that recruiting experience as a student ambassador while attending Bluffton. Liming said she talked to soccer recruits, encouraged them to spend the night on campus, have a narrowed list of the top five or top three schools and work out the pros and cons of attending those schools.

During the Wapakoneta vs. St. Marys girls soccer game last week, Liming and assistant coach Tim Rickabaugh were there to scout players and talked with Roughriders coach Nick Wilson afterward.

“I told my coach that there was a big rivalry game going on between my hometown and Wapak — and I actually coached Wapak during the summer so I knew all of the girls — so this would be a good game to watch and recruit,” Liming said. “It’s going to be different because I know them on a personal level, but also trying to get them to check out Defiance College.”

Now in the midst of the beginning of the Yellow Jackets’ season, Liming reminisced about how she enjoyed her time in Bluffton even during the difficult times.

Liming’s senior year was a bittersweet ending as the Beavers won two games but she motivated herself to give it her all and leave everything out on the field in every game she played because it could be her last game. That experience at Bluffton and those moments where she had to lead has helped her to where she is now; an assistant coach looking to lead, coach and inspire younger girl soccer players.

“The experience at Bluffton was pretty great,” Liming said. “The teammates that I had, I am still friends with and that is someone I can never take back is all of the people that I met at Bluffton. It’s a great atmosphere and now [2019 St. Marys graduate] Emma White is there so I am excited to see her go from St. Marys to Bluffton, as I did.

“It is going to be a little tough playing Bluffton this year because Defiance College and Bluffton are big rivals, I know everyone on the team and I have to try not to cheer for them because I want them to do well, but I also want to beat them.”

For the full story, read Thursday's print edition of The Evening Leader.