By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA — When Amanda Carr was a junior at Charlotte High School, she told athletic director Brian Nolan she was going to be a Tarpons coach one day.
That day came on Friday, when Nolan announced Carr as the new girls soccer coach.
“It’s funny because you say things as a young adult,” Carr said. “I said I’d go to the Olympics, too. It’s a full circle. That’s the best way I can put it. Going to the Olympics was amazing, and so was fulfilling that dream. Now I’m ready to work towards my next goal, and that’s being at Charlotte High School.”
Nolan is happy to have the former 17-time varsity letterwinner back at Charlotte.
“People who have gone through four years of high school at Charlotte, they understand how we do it, and the importance of community,” Nolan said. “They get it. The Punta Gorda community expects our coaches to act a certain way. Amanda has been part of the community, she loves Charlotte High School, and she won’t do anything to let us down.”
Carr spent four years playing varsity soccer for the Tarpons, before heading to North Carolina State, where she had significant playing time as a freshman. She then transferred to Florida State University, and competed on the track and field team there.
Most recently, Carr qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and competed for Thailand as a BMX cyclist.
But the idea of returning to Charlotte as a coach is something that’s sat with her for a long time.
“It’s something I’ve thought about for a while now, and I knew I wanted to be back at Charlotte High School in some capacity,” Carr said. “I’m excited for the process, and to see what we can do for the girls moving forward.”
Carr, 26, will be replacing Toni Ivankovic, who spent seven years as the girls soccer head coach, and another in an assistant role.
According to Nolan, Ivankovic took a new job teaching at the Charlotte Academy.
“I was very happy with coach Ivankovic,” Nolan said. “But (her new job) is time consuming. Between that and a family business they have, she couldn’t give us her full time.”
This will be Carr’s first head coaching job, and believes her youth and personality will mesh well with her new players.
“I think I’ll be a coach that can be very relatable to the girls,” Carr said. “I’m only 26, so I’m close to their age. I’m a very calm coach. And I say calm in terms of, I as an athlete, I appreciated coaches who talked to me in a calm manner, and that they can get their point across without having to yell and scream.
“I think that’s my strong suit. I’m not a yeller. I’m going to ask the girls to work hard, and I expect them to work hard, but I want to inspire the girls to not only be athletes and work together, but to be good people in our society.”
Carr will have a little more than a month to get acclimated with her new team before the season starts, as the Tarpons play a preseason game on Oct. 25, and begin the regular season on Nov. 3 against Fort Myers.