What would happen if three women who had played soccer for the same university found themselves, years later, coaching together at the same high school?
In at least one case, the result would be a 2017 girls soccer 5A State Championship. Amy Sherrill ’08, Anne Whitmore ’08 and Katie Devlin Carpenter ’12 hung up their Lancer cleats long ago, but they are still hoisting trophies as the coaching staff of the girls’ soccer team at Albemarle High School just outside Charlottesville.
Led by Sherrill, the head coach, the former Lancer trio engineered a perfect 23-0 season for the Albemarle Patriots this past spring, which culminated in a 1-0 win over Mountain View for the state title.
“We all came from pretty successful highschool backgrounds, so we know what it takes to get to that level,” said Sherrill, who climbed the ranks at Albemarle and took over as varsity head coach in 2014. “We work so well together. We have great chemistry and we like to have a lot of fun, but we like to win, too.”
The three women have coached together at Albemarle for the past two years. They balance their coaching responsibilities with their professional lives, all of which are in education. Sherrill is a health and physical education teacher at Albemarle, Whitmore is the assistant facility manager of Memorial Gymnasium at the University of Virginia, and Carpenter is a physical education teacher at Greer Elementary School.
And while they have only made up Albemarle’s coaching staff for the past two seasons, their bond goes back much further.
Sherrill and Whitmore arrived at Longwood together in 2004 as freshmen. Whitmore went on to become one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the program. Carpenter joined the Lancers as a freshman in 2007— senior year for Sherrill and Whitmore— and got to know Sherrill through their shared major of kinesiology.
'We have a little bit of fun, but, at the end of the day, we want to do a great job of building the character of our girls.'AMY SHERRILL ’08
Despite taking different paths after college—Sherrill and Carpenter both earned master’s degrees in education from the University of Virginia, while Whitmore earned her master’s in sports and recreation leadership from James Madison—they kept in touch regularly after their days playing for Longwood head women’s soccer coach Todd Dyer.
Their paths converged a couple of times at Albemarle over the years before Sherrill brought Whitmore and Carpenter on to help with coaching girls soccer in 2015.
“We are all very, very intense and team-oriented,” said Sherrill. “We have a little bit of fun, but, at the end of the day, we want to do a great job of building the character of our girls and helping them develop as people— not just soccer players. That’s a passion we all shared at Longwood, and it’s something that Coach Dyer instilled in us. It’s definitely what we care about as coaches.”
It’s gratifying for Dyer to see his former players have such a positive influence on a new generation of soccer players.
“Watching their teams play, the spirit and energy that their players have, it’s obvious to see,” said Dyer, who maintains regular contact with all three women. Talent always helps, and winning always helps, but you see how the bench players behave during the game—how they react, how they interact with the coaches. It’s just a very positive, energetic, spirited program.”