UWA Women's Soccer Program Steadily Rising under Graeme Orr

By: Louis Montesi, III
By: Louis Montesi, III
Graeme Orr is the only women

West Alabama Women's Soccer Coach Graeme Orr. Photo by Louis Montesi, III

Ten years ago, Graeme Orr came to the United States from Eaglesham, Scotland.

"I came across like anybody experiencing the American dream of wanting to play in college, you know?" said Orr. "I came across and played my four years and ended up loving where I was in the South."

Orr spent four years playing for Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN alongside eventual UWA Men's Soccer Coach Matthew Thorne. After working with youth soccer in Birmingham and serving as an assistant at Northern Alabama, a new program in Livingston need to hire its inaugural coach.

"It's been fabulous. As I said, we've got a great group of young ladies that want to work extremely hard and obtain goals. I think you can see the last three years we've definitely done that."

And the result of Orr's work is undeniable. In three years, the Lady Tigers' record has improved from 6-12 to 7-8 to 11-8.

"We're looking forward to getting closer to our new season coming up, and hopefully we can continue to push on and hopefully win a conference championship."

Of course, Orr is not alone in his efforts. Rising seniors Lydia Sutcliffe and Nicki Gears made first team, All-Gulf South Conference in 2013. Perhaps more impressive is Gears' earning the 2013 Co-GSC Player of the Year title.

This Fall, they'll be part of the first senior class in the program's young history.

"I love my job: every day to come to UWA and build a team here and build a soccer environment over here."

Slowly, but surely, Orr is doing just that.

He and Assistant Coach Hollie Loud (she's the only assistant he's ever had) have helped host "No. 1 Soccer Camps" on the UWA campus each of the past two years, making it one of only 24 spots in America to have that honor. The camp attracts the very young but very promising next generation of soccer stars from across the country and exposes them to West Alabama at the same time.

"The best thing America has is, you know, the facilities," said Orr. "They throw a lot of money at it [development], and the kids work extremely hard. I think if you look at some of the younger kids playing here, you know the technical ability from ten years ago when I came across has grown dramatically."

As the nation embraces the beautiful game, Orr is making sure West Alabama is part of the changing tide.

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