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FARMINGTON — The Farmington girls soccer team will be under new direction going forward after the school recently named Brynn Chavez Cochran the program’s head coach.

Chavez Cochran played five years of varsity soccer at FHS, graduating in 1998 before going on to play four years at New Mexico Highlands University, where she also served as an assistant coach after graduating. Her familiarity with Farmington and the ability to connect with her players as a result of that familiarity was a bonus for FHS during the hiring process.

“One of the biggest things was her collegiate experience as a player at Highlands, as well as her coaching experience collegiately, those stood out for sure. And, of course, it was an added bonus to have her as an FHS alumni and former Scorpion soccer player, as well,” FHS athletic director Seth Martinez said. “I think that combination helped us make our decision.”

Chavez Cochran takes over for Shannon Gill, who in 2015 guided the Lady Scorps to a 19-3 record with an 8-0 mark in District 1-5A and the No. 1 seed in the 5A state tournament before leaving the program following the season.

FHS lost 12 seniors from last year’s squad but will return a handful of young players who saw ample time with good production last season.

Back to take on more of a leadership role will be incoming senior Narcissa Fowler, junior Arin Coleman and freshman McKenzie Coleman. The trio combined for 36 goals last season.

With a lot of youth on the roster heading into the 2016 season, Chavez Cochran said she sees it as an opportunity to build the program the way she’d like it to be.

“I know they’ve done a great job these last couple of years, and it’s nice to have a young group of girls,” she said. “Basically, the whole varsity team from last year is gone. It’s a young group of girls and they're excited.”

The team has held a couple of summer practices, which drew about 30 players for the 6:30 a.m. workouts. Chavez Cochran said she’s excited about the girls’ enthusiasm and hopes to build on her philosophy of a player-driven program. Much of the focus in practice will be creating game-time situations and allowing the players to make decisions, opening up a free-flowing style of play.

Chavez Cochran said a key reason for applying for and taking the job was her memories of playing soccer in Farmington.

Martinez believes part of Chavez Cochran’s excitement also comes from the program moving from the shadows at FHS, where it was when Chavez Cochran played, to the spotlight as one of the school’s top teams.

“Brynn is someone who was part of FHS soccer in the early stages and played in the years when they practiced at Animas Elementary (School) and played their games at Hermosa (Middle School). She’s pretty excited to step into an era when soccer has gained a little bit more respect, and the kids have a feeling of being appreciated,” Martinez said. “I think she’s the right fit. She’s definitely someone the girls can look up to, and she’s an outstanding person.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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