Volunteer assistant brings experience, knowledge to ISU soccer

Trey Alessio

Volunteer assistant soccer coach Whitney Sharpe has had some ups and downs along her journey, but she has brought that experience to share with an ISU soccer team that already has “great team chemistry.”

Sharpe began playing soccer at the age of four in West Des Moines, Iowa. She was involved in Little Cub soccer, and as she got older her friend’s dad took over as the coach. From then on, soccer became part of Sharpe’s life.

“I found myself never wanting to leave practice, and that passion grew as I got older and went into high school,” Sharpe said. “I got really involved playing for the state team, then the regional team, and then the national team.”

On her national club team, Sharpe was able to take trips to exotic locations around the world. The Brazil trip was one that stood out most to her.

“When you see people playing on the dirt streets and how much passion they have, it was something I picked up on and brought back with me to [America] and realized how lucky we are here,” Sharpe said.

The next chapter in Sharpe’s career was college. She started out at UCLA. During Sharpe’s college years she said she went through a process of finding herself. She was searching for what made her happy.

Sharpe said that when things didn’t end up working out at UCLA after two years, she took her talents to Texas Tech, which was where her national team’s coach worked.

“I kind of made a rush decision and got into it,” Sharpe said. “I loved the soccer, loved the coach, loved the girls, but Lubbock just wasn’t for me.”

She did more soul searching and said she was always willing to take the risk to be happy with soccer and life, so Sharpe went back to Los Angeles and finished her college career at Loyola Marymount University.

After college, Sharpe made a highlight film and put it on YouTube. From that, she got a tryout for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, Ajax FC in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

“I wanted to go overseas instead of playing in the League because of the soccer culture,” Sharpe said. “It’s their No. 1 sport in almost every country. I’m a really soccer savvy person—I watch all the different leagues and my soccer IQ is high—and I wanted to be surrounded by the atmosphere. It was really about the culture for me.”

She played two seasons for Ajax and decided she wanted to do something in Iowa and give back to her community, so Sharpe reached out to Iowa State. ISU coach Tony Minatta and his staff welcomed Sharpe in.

“[Sharpe] has a lot of experience with different programs and different levels—all high-level conferences. But her perspective on different coaching personalities really has given our players an idea of what it’s like outside of Iowa State,” Minatta said.

Minatta also described Sharpe’s leadership as “very direct.” He said she’s not afraid to throw out exactly what she’s thinking.

“I think with my unique college experience—having highs and lows, finding myself and going through adversity—I really feel like I can come to the college game and help players realize what makes them happy and help them through those mentally tough times,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe has many goals and aspirations for the future. She said a dream of hers would be to coach at the highest level possible.

“I’ve been lucky to learn under [Minatta and staff] because they have great chemistry and they know a lot of stuff,” Sharpe said. “I’m thinking about going back to school for sports psychology so maybe incorporating soccer and coaching.”