Home Education PSC’s First Women’s Soccer Team Will Play this Fall

PSC’s First Women’s Soccer Team Will Play this Fall

Pictured are, from left, Head Coach Mark Yepishin; Assistant Coach Paul Fernandez; signees ─ Maddison Laina, Sidney Roest, Maddie Motes and Paige Phillips; Assistant Coach Valentina Duque; and PSC President Ed Meadows. PSC Athletic Director Bryan Lewallyn is on the second row.

Mark Yepishin has been named the first women’s soccer coach at Pensacola State College. The new PSC athletics team, with 18 to 22 student-athletes, is expected to start play during the fall semester.

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For the inaugural season, PSC home games will be played at Ashton Brosnaham Sports Complex with a practice field on the Pensacola campus next to the tennis courts. The College will eventually build a permanent soccer complex and field to host home games.

A seasoned and accomplished soccer player, the Russian-born Yepishin began playing soccer competitively for Pensacola Futbol Club in 2005 under local legend coach Peter Stephens. In 2014, he started coaching at the Jackson (Mississippi) Futbol Club while playing at Mississippi College in Clinton. He moved to Pensacola with his family from Karachayevsk, Russia, in 2005.

The College introduced Yepishin, his assistant coaches and four players during a 9 a.m. press conference on Wednesday, March 29, in Hartsell Arena. Yepishin, a 2009 Booker T. Washington High School graduate, was the volunteer assistant coach for the University of West Florida women’s soccer program from 2019-2022. He also was head coach of the girls’ soccer program at Pensacola Catholic High School from 2013-2023 and led the Lady Crusaders to postseason play eight out of the 10 years he was there.

He was one of 32 volunteers selected from 600,000 applicants to help as a Team Services Volunteer at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Russia and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. He worked with national teams and was a Russian translator for the players and coaches.

In 2018, Yepishin was a Team Liaison Officer for the National Lithuanian team in its friendly match against Iran. He holds a U.S. Soccer “D” Coaching License and a Youth Diploma 1 from Coerver Coaching.

Yepishin and his wife, Anastasiia, live in Pensacola with their sons, Luka and Vinny, and husky, Mufasa.

Assistant coaches are former Pensacola High School head coach Paul Fernandez and Valentina Duque, a former member of the Columbian National Team.

The first women’s soccer team signees are:

  • Maddison Laina, a Navarre High School and Bayside Rush player specializing in the center back position.

 “Maddison’s unique talents, including her quickness and exceptional game-reading ability, make her an outstanding player who can provide an immediate impact for the Pirates right from the start of the season,” Yepishin said.

  • Maddie Motes, a defensive midfielder for Pace High School and West Florida Soccer Club. A varsity team member for four years, Motes was instrumental in guiding the Lady Patriots to the regional quarterfinals.

“Maddie’s primary responsibility on the pitch is to impede the opposing team’s attack, and she is widely regarded as one of the top performers in the region in her position,” Yepishin said.

  • Paige Phillips, a Milton High School and West Florida Soccer Club forward. Phillips played four years for the Milton High Lady Panthers, where she scored 74 goals and provided 21 assists.

“She has quick feet and excellent finishing skills. We expect her to carry on her impressive scoring record for the Pirates,” Yepishin said. 

  • Sidney Roest, a Pace High School and West Florida Soccer Club goalkeeper. In high school, she made a total of 184 saves.

“During her three years on the varsity team, Sidney conceded only 38 goals, which is a testament to her exceptional goalkeeping skills,” Yepishin said.

 Several of the signees are scholarship student-athletes.

“Recruitment is continuing, and we’re hoping interest in the soccer program will pick up with this announcement. We’ll also hold tryouts for those interested in joining the team,” said Pensacola  State Athletic Director Bryan Lewallyn, who added walk-ons will be accepted.

PSC President Ed Meadows said the new soccer team will allow the College to widen its service to the community.

“There are literally thousands of high school players and other youth league players in our community,” said Meadows, whose grandchildren play soccer. “This team will allow some of our local players to continue playing after high school.”

 Lewallyn agreed, saying soccer is the biggest sport in the community right now.

“This gives PSC another connection to the community that wasn’t there. Our area has a huge soccer community, so this is certainly a positive move,” he added.

Four other Florida College Systems institutions Eastern Florida, Daytona, Polk and Pasco-Hernando state colleges have women’s soccer teams. Lewallyn said the Pirates will compete against those FCS schools and colleges in Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 2022, Pensacola State received a $2,000 NJCAA Sport Opportunity Grant available for NJCAA member colleges to apply as they expand sports offerings while increasing student-athlete access and achievement. The grant funds were used to purchase soccer balls for the program, Lewallyn said.

The soccer team is the second women’s athletic program PSC has added in the last few years. In 2019, a women’s cross-country team joined the athletics roster.