Throughout the 2020 offseason, Detroit City FC will be sharing the stories - both on and off the pitch - of its men's and women's players. Next in our series is Sarah Huge and how her passion for teaching has led not just to playing career, but a career as a coach with DCFC West.
Player Spotlight: Sarah Huge
Playing soccer post-collegiately was never an option that crossed Sarah Huge’s mind as she completed her degree at Michigan State University while recovering from a devastating knee injury that stunted her playing career with the Spartans.
“I always had done summers locally in the Ann Arbor area and way back then someone mentioned that they were forming the Motor City team, semi-professional, and at the time I was thinking there is no way, that sounds way too beyond me.”
Huge returned to Metro Detroit with the focus not on her playing career, but one in the classroom teaching fourth graders in Ann Arbor. Her passion for the game never waivered though, as she found her way back to the pitch - first as coach, then as player.
“It’s so rewarding. This is teaching on the field, which I love to do,” said Huge. “The interacting with the players but then also seeing the progress and the excitement they get after they have the success that they’ve been working for. I can help, I can coach, I can teach all the aspects of it but once they’re doing it, it’s them building their own confidence.”
Huge spent time in the semi-professional ranks here in the local area before taking time away from the pitch for another new role...that of mom.
After a few seasons playing and a couple off the pitch to have her two children, Huge found herself donning Rouge and Gold not as just a coach with DCFC West, but as a player.
While playing is the gateway for most coaches, coaching was the pathway back onto the pitch for Huge. It was while coaching with the Canton Soccer Club, now DCFC West, Huge met City women’s head coach Sam Piraine. The two built a relationship as coaches which has now evolved to include a player-coach dynamic.
Huge was a no doubt choice for Piraine when naming a captain for the inaugural Detroit City FC women’s team. For her entire professional career, Huge has shown an immense ability to lead, on and off the field.
“Definitely surprised,” Huge said about being named captain. “I knew I was going to be involved in helping some way just because I have the connection of playing and coaching, but I had no idea that they were even planning to do captains.”
The importance of being named captain was something Huge was honored to accept and a position she takes with great pride.
“The captain's role takes such a big and significant role with this club which is awesome. It’s different than you go and shake hands with the other captain before the game, and I really appreciate the opportunity.”
Huge laughed, recalling texts from players she coaches congratulating her on being named captain of the women’s side.
“It was really cool to see,” said Huge. “It was a motivation for them. And that is what I had hoped it would be. They could see me doing something beyond just their coach or beyond the stories of MSU from awhile ago and was hopefully inspiring.”
That connection back to the Club’s youth teams wasn’t just a point of emphasis for Huge, but from Piraine and the whole women’s coaching staff.
“He (Piraine) was able to keep us all motivated and connected with the youth side and show that pathway is possible for so many that wasn’t an option years ago.”
With the inaugural women’s season in the books, Huge is now back to full time coaching with her teams at West.
“I am now beating my youth players in laps, it’s like ‘Let’s Go! Come on, I am 30 years old,’ I feel like there is no excuse now, so that is a fun part of it, ” joked Huge.
The success of the DCFC women’s team is pioneering for young athletes that Huge coaches daily and for the future involvement of the club.
“For me soccer was always a route to potentially go through education, get a degree and that was going to be it,” Huge said.
But now, a different message is being sent to these young players. One that Huge is more than happy to provide.
“You watch those players on TV, and you see all those fans, that’s what we have. You may have never thought you would play in front of a crowd like that, but you can.”