Eugene, Ore. -- Soccer season is reaching its' end in the Willamette Valley which means an offseason for coaches all over the state. For Kat and Erica Mertz, it's a time to reconvene and relax. After all, it's difficult having two head coaches under one roof.
"I got the phone call from the University of Oregon and said yes absolutely I want to coach in the Pac-12," recalls Ducks head coach Kat Mertz. "It just worked out timing wise that Lane opened up."
When she first took the head coaching job with Oregon soccer, Kat Mertz knew it was only a matter of time until her wife Erica followed suit. Lane Community College came knocking shortly thereafter, and the Mertz household became a busy one in the fall.
"I do think we try to put our phones down, me in particularly," Mertz jokes. "I recognize there are moments where I just need to....okay enough of watching film."
"I've probably watched more Pac-12 film than anyother non Pac-12 coach in the country," Erica Mertz, Lane Community College head soccer coach, jokes. And of course she would, as she and Kat are married. "We all understand the job and understand the expectations and that it's not 9-5 and that you're gonna have an 8 pm recruiting phone call."
"We're trying to do the best that we can and create a loving family and be present within our work force and try to find a way to win," Kat follows up.
It is easier to understand though, when both Kat and Erika have similar priorities.
"It is helpful when we understand it," says Erica. "It's also nice cause we tag team a lot of the everything else. We understand that we're kind of passing ships in the night during season and that kind of thing and it's just kind of about our little guy."
But more than that, the two see themselves as standard bearers in the soccer world for women in head coaching roles.
"That's pretty rare, especially in a small town, that's pretty rare," Erica mentions. "There's a lot of pressures and now that we're balancing even a family on top of it. I completely understand why it's a little bit harder for a woman, especially a mother to be a head coach at a competitive demanding job."
"I think it's great for the local community to see two female coaches in soccer being role models for the young women in the community," Kat follows up.
So is being on a staff together in the cards?
"We like our team at home a little bit more than we would like a staff I think," Erica jokes. "It's good to keep that kind of stuff seperated."
For now the Mertz's are happy where they are. As head coaches, as mothers, and as wives.
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