Sports

Baumgardt to take over Eagle soccer

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The Federal Way girls soccer team will be in good hands next fall.

Justi Baumgardt, a former Eagle standout and one of the best women soccer players in the world, was announced as the new Federal Way coach on Wednesday.

“She called and e-mailed me that she heard the job was open and she told me she was interested,” said Federal Way High School Assistant Athletic Director Bob France. “We went through the interview process and hired her. It is just a great story.”

Baumgardt will be replacing Carrie Boers, who accepted a position to coach the girl’s team at the new Todd Beamer High School in the fall.

Baumgardt’s resume reads like a what’s what in soccer.

She currently plays in the WUSA soccer league for the New York Power. The WUSA is the top women’s professional league in the world and includes teams across the United States. Baumgardt also played 17 games for the Washington Freedom in 2001 and has played several matches with the United States National Team.

“Justi is a cleaver playmaker,” said New York Power coach Tom Sermanni. “She is a great long passer and skilled in possession.”

The Power currently sits 3-3 in WUSA play and take the field today at 1 p.m. against Philadelphia. The game will be televised on the PAX television network. Baumgardt has played in five of the six games and started the last three for New York. She has recorded three points, including one goal.

The Power’s roster is made up of other National Team veterans, including Tiffeny Milbrett, who is regarded as the best woman soccer player in the world. Milbrett was also Baumgardt’s teammate at the University of Portland in the mid-90s. Baumgardt plans to continue to play for the Power next spring.

Baumgardt made her debut with the national team on June 12, 1993, as an 18-year-old, but did not appear again until 1997.

The left-footed midfielder was a three-year All-American and two-time NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team member while at the University of Portland, where she finished as the Pilots’ third all-time leading score with 124 points.

While at Federal Way, Baumgardt was named a Parade Magazine High School All-American and was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year after her senior season in 1993. She also played basketball and track while at Federal Way.

“It’s a homecoming for her,” said France. “I had the girls (soccer team) come in and they went nuts. They had just watched her the night before on TV. It’s so rare that you have an opportunity to have a high-caliber, professional athlete to coach your high school team.”

The hiring of Baumgardt to take over the Eagles’ girls program is the first head coach hiring by France, who will be taking over next year for current Federal Way High School Athletic Director Doug Patrick. Patrick, a longtime member of the Eagle sports community, is retiring.

“Now I’ve got a lot of pressure on me,” joked France. “Not a bad first hire, huh?”

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