Del Guercio '11 coaches on the Hill
Del Guercio '11 is now the women's asst. soccer coach
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“I was abandoned in a field. Supposedly a farmer found me in the bushes and brought me to an orphanage,” Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach Su-Lin Del Guercio ’11 said.
Del Guercio weighed four pounds when she was brought to the orphanage. After living with a foster mother in South Korea for six months, Kathy and Joe Del Guercio adopted her when she was 14-months-old.
“I actually remember the airport when I first came over. I was apparently really stressed,” Del Guercio said. Growing up in New Jersey, Del Guercio said that her parents incorporated aspects of Korean culture into her childhood but let her decide if she wanted to pursue that exploration as she got older.
Six years ago, Del Guercio had the opportunity to reunite with her foster mother, who was traveling in the United States. “It was really emotional,” Del Guercio said. “Through an interpreter, she was asking me questions like, ‘Do you still like strawberries?’ She remembered me—as soon as she saw me, she started to cry.”
Despite her story, Del Guercio’s adoption is “just part of the past.” The way she was raised has had a more significant impact on her life than her tumultuous early days. “I think that soccer is more a part of my identity than the adoption,” Del Guercio said. She started playing the sport in kindergarten.
After cultivating her soccer skills on the club and high school levels, Del Guercio had a successful college career on the Hill. Del Guercio was a team captain during her senior year, and by the time she graduated last May, she was a three-time New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) team selection and a three-time All-New England player.
A government and classical civilizations double major, Del Guercio balanced not only schoolwork and soccer, but also coaching Seacoast United Soccer Club teams in southern Maine. From November through July, she traveled to Brunswick or Portland two or three times per week for practice and spent weekends in Massachusetts or New Hampshire for games.
“During the week, I’d leave straight after class for training. I’d head back up to Colby and be back by 10 and just go straight to the library. On weekends, games could be as early as eight in the morning, so I’d have to leave school at 4:30 in the morning and not get back until nine at night,” Del Guercio said. Her strong work ethic and positive attitude made the commitment feasible. “Plus, there is a Chipotle in New Hampshire, so it was all worth it,” she said.
Through the Seacoast club, Del Guercio earned her National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced National Diploma and “B” License, meaning she is qualified to train high-level players. In August, Del Guercio was hired as the women’s soccer assistant coach at the College.
“The transition [from student to coach] was a lot easier than I expected and made me realize how often I was down in the Athletic Center because it just feels like home,” Del Guercio said. Her 12-hour workdays are filled with e-mail correspondence, game tape analysis and helping with practices and games.
Though familiarity with the program largely made the transition easier, it did complicate it in some respects. “I do know the players, and its not just about maintaining a level of professionalism, it’s that I can’t hang out with some of my closest friends [as much] anymore,” Del Guercio said.
Nevertheless, “NESCAC is an awesome conference, and starting off coaching at an institution like Colby is a great stepping stone,” Del Guercio said. She hopes to continue her coaching career, perhaps in the future working at a high school similar to her alma mater, the Peddie School, in New Jersey.
“I’m grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve had, considering the past,” Del Guercio said. She gets her motivation and work ethic not from her remarkable story but rather from her family and the sport she loves. “I’m a really motivated person, and if I want to achieve something, I’ll work hard,” she said. According to Del Guercio, her ability to overcome obstacles is influenced “maybe [by] the adoption, definitely by my parents—but mostly I think soccer plays a big part.”