Head Girls Soccer Coach Lisa Joel Fosters Team That Celebrates Each Other’s Strengths

Andover Girls Soccer Head Coach Lisa Joel emphasizes off-field training as a big contributor to player performance. When pursuing athletics at Amherst College, Joel captained the Soccer, Basketball, and Lacrosse teams in her Senior year. She came to Andover in 1993 and became the Girls Varsity Soccer Coach in 1998.

Co-Captain Jazzy Cormier ʼ24 described Joel’s willingness to discuss plans for the team, with an emphasis on team bonding.

Cormier said, “Emily [Mara ’25] and I are just in constant contact with Coach Joel… We focused a lot on creating a really close team culture, and she talks a lot about how important it is that we’re able to connect off the field because that translates to on the field.”

Joel creates an environment that focuses on growth through seeking constant feedback from the team. Jill Reichenbach PGʼ24 appreciates Joel’s open communication and its benefits to her approaching the game.

“For me, as a goalkeeper, her first question is, ‘What do you think?’ not ‘What do you think you did wrong?’… Maybe there’s something that I saw that she didn’t, or that other teammates saw, and so I think with her leading with the player and then the coaching, it’s really helpful,” said Reichenbach.

Reichenbach added her gratitude for Joel’s mentorship in helping her adjust to the team and school environment. As a new student, Reichenbach appreciated Joel’s patience in giving her time to adapt.

“She’s just been incredibly empathic. She was very forgiving [in] my first few weeks where I didn’t really know where things were, or coming late to practice because I had to talk to a teacher about something,” said Reichenbach.

Above all else, Coach Joel values health, family, and school before soccer. She hopes to send a message to her players that by taking care of external factors, success will follow the players on the field.

“We attend to that, we take care of that, we let them take care of that, and then they can get back to the game of soccer… They can’t play soccer well, they can’t feel good as a teammate, they probably can’t succeed out on the soccer field, if things are just complicated with aspects of their health or family or school,” Joel said.

Cormier highlighted Joel’s hospitable attitude towards her players. Joel is involved with each player and fosters players’ needs beyond the soccer field.

“She’s like my second mom, even in my experience when I’ve been sick, when I’ve been down, she’s literally brought me Whole Foods snacks and fruit and she’s just the sweetest person ever and she always wants to hear how you’re doing. She always wants to listen and she always wants to make sure that everyone is getting what they need to feel supported as an athlete,” said Cormier.

While hoping to add a fifth title as the Class A Prep School Champions, Joel emphasizes staying present and focusing on details of the game to get better.

“While [The New England Class A Tournament is] our long term goal, we are taking every half at a time. We’ve got a game on Wednesday, and we want to win the first half of our next game, so we don’t ever want to get our eyes too far ahead [so] that we don’t take care of the business right in front of us,” said Joel.

As players get closer to the end of their Andover soccer career, Joel relishes the memories each of them has made with the team. The program stands strong on creating a fun and engaging environment.

Joel said, “Some of these memories and these relationships will be some of their most lasting of their Phillips Academy experience… I want them to find joy in the sport, I want them to find joy in each other and also just learn that with the power of team, you can transcend what you as an individual might think is impossible.”