TOWNSEND -- When the position of girls' soccer head coach opened up at North Middlesex Regional High School, Margaret Nickless pounced on it.
Nickless, a special education teacher within the district, has been asking each year if there was an opening to coach soccer -- to which each athletic director informed her there was not. But, when she approached newly hired athletic director James Bunnell, he encouraged Nickless to throw her hat into the ring.
"Margaret interviewed really well in front of a committee," athletic director James Bunnell said. "Margaret showed a passion for the game and has played overseas in a world club soccer tournament in Denmark and England. She coached at St. Bernard's for their girls' soccer program, and she came highly recommended by former NM athletic director Mike Dawson -- he praised her up and down.
When Bunnell broke the news to Nickless that she would be the head coach of the girls' soccer program in the fall, he was blown away with her joyous reaction to the news.
"When I told her she almost fell over in the chair because she was so full of excitement," he said. "You could not have seen a happier person -- she had a smile from ear-to-ear on her face. She has always wanted to coach soccer, but she never really has had the opportunity to coach at that high level, and she is willing to do anything and everything to make this girls' soccer program very successful."
Nickless is the current North Middlesex girls' lacrosse head coach, but she is up for the challenge of heading up the girls' soccer program. Her persistence finally paid off.
"I have coached various sports since I was in high school," Nickless said. "When I started coaching lacrosse at North Middlesex I sort of started to miss soccer. I have always wanted to coach soccer as well. Every athletic director we had, I always asked them if a soccer coaching position opened up to let me know. This is my seventh year at the high school, and it just so happened to work out this year. I am ecstatic about starting."
Nickless's soccer coaching experience spans from the high school level at St. Bernard's, Applewild School, Bay State Games and various soccer camps in the area. Nickless did not play soccer in college, deciding to take the lacrosse route instead. She hopes that her worldly soccer playing experience will be helpful in leading the Patriots this fall.
"I played in the Dana Cup in Denmark and in Newcastle, England -- those were some of the best experiences I have had in my life," she said. "I am a true believer that playing a sport makes you a more well-rounded person, and I think having that experience made me more aware of things that are out there. It pushed me to limits that I didn't know I could reach."
The fall season can not come soon enough for Nickless.
"I am really excited," she said. "I am sure that it will be like any other team I have coached. I really enjoy coaching. I became a teacher because I wanted to find a way to become a coach. Coaching is what really drove me into being a teacher. It's going to be a fresh start for the team, and it'll be a fun experience for myself and the girls. I know I have fun every time I step out on the field."