Q&A: New Oregon goalkeeper and defense coach Katie Hultin
On Feb. 22, the women’s soccer program announced the hiring of its new goalkeeper and defense coach, Katie Hultin.
Hultin was previously the goalkeeper coach for the University of Illinois, where she helped the team’s defense become one of the top in the conference. Before that, the Washington State graduate served as the goalkeeper coach for Seattle University. The Emerald sat down with Hultin to discuss her thoughts on coaching and the Oregon team.
After your stint at Illinois, that Illini team dramatically improved, specifically their defense. What did you teach that helped them improve so much?
I think a big part of it was, before I got there, the goalkeeper was just a freshman. It’s hard to be a freshman goalie; there’s a big learning curve there. I got a lot of one-on-one time with that particular goalkeeper my first spring there and just helped her understand the game a little bit more and cleaned up her technical side of the game.
Do you see any comparison with your Illinois team and Oregon?
I think the similarities lie in the conference. The Big Ten and the Pac-12 are two power conferences, so they’re both great teams as far as the goalkeeping is concerned. Again, big learning curve when you’re only a freshman. Experience is really one of the biggest things that helps a goalkeeper get better and better, so after a season of some solid experience, I would expect that, with some good work this spring and a good preseason and fall there will be some big improvements there as well.
Have you watched this Duck team play?
I watched a little bit this fall and watched some film recently. Not too much, but I’m looking forward to watching them this spring, for sure.
In the limited time you have seen them, what do you think it might take for them to get over that hump and make a run in the Pac-12?
I think goalscoring is a big piece of it, and also keeping the ball out of the back of the net. I know they’ve been focused on the defensive side of the game as of late, so I would expect that to lead to them being relatively disciplined this spring, defensively. Now it’s just about building the attack a little bit more.
What do you hope to add to this team as you join the defensive side?
Obviously to limit the amount of scoring opportunities that our opponents get. I think discipline is a big part of it, and understanding the game, reading the game and being able to let the back line sort of run the pace of the game. So a lot of it is going to be education and discipline, I think.
What challenges do you see in coaching this team? Is there anything that you have pinpointed that may be difficult to accomplish?
No, I haven’t pinpointed anything yet. I think every team has their strengths and every team has their areas of opportunity. Over the course of time I think those things will stand out. A big part of coaching is problem solving, so we’ll definitely find some things to tackle and work to get better.
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