Rachel Wood began her coaching career at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley (Mass.) at a time when it was less-than-conducive to instill anything -- let alone a new culture in a program where soccer had traditionally been more of an activity to fill out the perfect college application than a pursuit of excellence on the pitch.
It was 2020, and the season consisted of two whole games amid the COVID-19 health crisis. Things began to get back to normal in 2021, but the two-time University of North Carolina national champion and former Boston Breakers professional player sought for it to be anything but business at usual at Dana Hall.
"When I came in I had really high standards and expectations," Wood told New England Soccer Journal. "It takes a couple of years to really turn a corner. These players had never had a fitness test. They had never had to fight for playing time. It was one of those things where seniors were kind of the top dogs and that’s the way it was.