As the Greenville University Women’s Soccer Team is in the midst of their conference games, much of their success has come from the great defensive outings they’ve put together. The team holds a record of 9-4 and of those nine wins, seven of them have been shutouts. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons they’ve been able to perform so well defensively is because of their highly talented goalkeeper, Marjory Coates.
For those who may not know her, Coates is a junior here at GU double majoring in Biology and Chemistry. She is originally from Decatur, Illinois, where she attended Warrensburg-Latham High School. Beginning to play soccer at the local YMCA around four-years-old, Coates explained that she loved playing soccer ever since then due to the friends she’s made throughout the years. Her parents also offered a great amount of encouragement and support for her with the multiple other sports she’s played along with soccer such as volleyball, basketball, and track.
The original plan for Coates after high school was to attend Seattle Pacific University, but after visiting Greenville, a place where many of her family members had previously attended, she realized how much it really had to offer. Coates stated, “A lot of my family went to Greenville so I was kind of trying to break the seem of that, but I came and met with a lot of great professors and really liked what they had to say.” She also met with Coach Wardlaw to learn about the soccer team and culture they had within the team, but shared that, “At the end of the day I think it was meeting with Ivan Filby one on one and having him speak into my life, pray over me, and then reach out to me once I had gone home that was definitely the deal breaker. I was sold after that.”
Along with her academics and athletic career, Coates’ faith also plays a huge role in where she finds her identity and purpose. There have been countless memories and opportunities to grow in that aspect of her life throughout her three years here, but one that specifically stood out to her was last March during the spring semester when Professor Kelcey Gropp was moved by the Holy Spirit to pray over her at a Vespers service. According to Coates, Gropp had never even met her or knew who she was, so it was a very surreal experience that opened her eyes even more to her identity in Christ. Coates explained how influential that night was to her by stating, “Going through Greenville with the relationships I’ve built and disciplines I’ve picked up really played a big part in preparing my heart for that night, so since then I’ve just felt a lot more sure of myself and very confident as a leader on the soccer team, in my academics, in my relationships with people, and in my faith.”
When her time here at GU is up, Coates is hoping to go to veterinarian school and wants to use that profession as an outlet to do mission work in areas of the world that struggle to keep livestock alive and healthy. She knows that without healthy animals, many people have no other ways of providing food for themselves or their families, so she feels very passionate about her calling to help people in this way. As she has grown over the years, Coates has realized that one of the most important lessons she’s learned is that the relationships we have with the people around us are the biggest blessings we have, and she hopes to represent who God truly is through the way she interacts with everyone.
Whether it be on the soccer field, in the classroom, or within the Greenville community as a whole, Coates is always striving to make the most of whatever scenario she finds herself in. Finding someone as humble, passionate, and hard-working as she is would be a difficult task for any one of us, so it is evident that the women’s soccer team has a great leader in Coates, both on and off the field.
Coates has only given up ten goals this season and has 65 saves overall, which gives her a .867 save percentage so far this season. She’s also already been named as the SLIAC Defensive Player of the Week once, so this probably won’t be the last time you hear her name.
If you want to see Coates in action just come out to any of the women’s soccer games where she will be in the goal likely saving every shot that comes her way! Check out the full soccer schedule here!