Despite having just finished her second season as a head coach, Jessica Seren knows exactly what it takes to make a successful field hockey team.
Seren began her career in athletics at Gloversville High School in the Albany area where she was a multi-sport athlete. She competed in field hockey and basketball all four years, and even tried her hand in softball and track and field briefly.
It was field hockey, however, that Seren stuck with since she began playing in seventh grade. She said she credits field hockey for opening many doors for her, including traveling across the country to compete in multiple states as well as overseas.
Another opportunity she received was the chance to compete at the collegiate level for an extremely successful SUNY Cortland program. While at Cortland, Seren compiled a very impressive resume, including SUNYAC Rookie of the Year in 2002 and receiving a spot on the All-SUNYAC team three times.
The team traveled to the NCAA tournament all four years of her career and even made it as far as the Final Four her sophomore year. After graduating with a degree in Sports Management in 2006, Seren served as an assistant coach for Cortland where she "played for and coached under one of the best."
Although coaching was never a long-term goal, Seren said she felt the desire to stay involved in the sport in some facet. So when the opportunity to coach at Geneseo arrived, Seren said she was compelled to take the offer. While at Cortland, Seren learned about the level of dedication and commitment it takes to run a successful program, and once she began her job here at Geneseo those lessons became invaluable.
Seren immediately faced a smaller roster than she was used to, as well as a challenge every new coach faces: getting new players on board with their system of coaching. "I brought a structure and new direction to the team, but the athletic ability and coach-ability of the team was already in place," she said. "This had a big part in making my job a lot easier."
Seren exudes the work ethic and the spirited drive she picked up from years spent on competitive programs, but when she began coaching she saw that those values were instilled in every college program. She realized that her job as coach is to separate Geneseo from the rest of the pack with a "never quit attitude." This young coach also has a firm mantra and tells her athletes to "never settle for less than their best."
After two years of coaching Seren has definitely found what she believes to be a passion for coaching. She said she enjoys interacting with student athletes and the many opportunities to develop on- and off-field relationships with her athletes.
She said some of the biggest highlights of her career thus far have been surpassing the established school record of nine wins in a season with an 11-win campaign this year. Another highlight was this year's extremely competitive game against her alma mater. Seren finds success by consistently asking her players to "pass beyond their comfort level and play at a level beyond what they thought they were capable of."
In her future at Geneseo, Seren said she hopes to lead her team to a SUNYAC championship and bring Geneseo field hockey to the national level. She said she looks forward to the opportunity to put her stamp on the program, crediting the supportive nature of Geneseo from the Athletic Department and student athletes to the entire student body for helping her reach the team's goals.