Her mom is a doctor. Her dad is an engineer. Serene Gherri just always figured she would end up with some kind of STEM career. That is still the case, as her aspiration is to become an orthopedic surgeon.
But Gherri could be open to a new path, perhaps one as a coach.
She will get her first taste of it in the spring, as the 21-year-old Tolland resident was recently hired as an assistant coach for Putnam Science Academy’s girls’ soccer team.
“I absolutely have thought about it,” Gherri said. “I don’t do things just to do them, and although being a surgeon is my goal, I was so interested in this position because of my passion for the game. I’ve always been a plyer and I’ve never seen the game from the coaching position at this level, but if I love this experience, I would definitely consider continuing on with coaching.”
Gherri played two years of soccer at Tolland High School before ankle and knee injuries thwarted any further advancement on the field.
But she loves the game, and PSA Athletic Director Tom Espinosa said one of the things he liked about her was how she thinks like a coach.
“We talked about the fact that she doesn’t really have much experience,” he said, “but that when she watches games, she watches like a coach, thinking about adjustments and watching what works and doesn’t work. We really loved talking with her.”
For Gherri, who is currently a senior at UConn, the lack of coaching experience makes her a little nervous. But once she starts talking with and meeting the players, that will level off.
“I want to get back into the team aspect of sports because I have definitely missed that,” she said.
“These girls are only going to be a few years younger than me, and I think that will make it easy for us to connect. And building relationships and having those connections is such an important part of what I like to do and what I think is really important to have success on the field.
“I really want to help PSA build and win. I love winning. I’m very competitive. I want us to be as good as we can be and I want to help these girls and this program do that. I like to make sure that everything that I’m doing is to the full extent of the greatness and ability that I have in me, so I’m really excited to bring that out in the girls on the team as well.”
Espinosa also said the school has closed its search for its head coach of the girls’ soccer team and an announcement is expected soon.

Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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