Monday was National Women’s Equality Day, and that only keeps Stanhope Elmore boys soccer coach and English teacher Johanna Angelo going.
Women’s Equality Day remembers the passage of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, giving women the right to vote, and women’s efforts for equality, according to National Women’s History Alliance. The day was designated Aug. 26, 1973.
Originally from New Jersey, Angelo grew up playing soccer. She played soccer at Kean University and Brevard College.
She began coaching soccer at Stanhope Elmore in 2008 when the team was co-ed.
In 2009, the teams split into boys and girls teams. Angelo decided to coach the boys team because the co-ed team mainly competed against the same all-male division.
“I had already put a year’s worth of work into it so I wanted to stay with the boys and since then it hasn’t ever been questioned,” Angelo said.
Angelo has coached a girls college club team for three years and enjoys coaching. Angelo said she enjoys coaching boys because she can be more straightforward and honest.
“It’s a little easier for me,” Angelo said. “I tend to be more forward and honest and they handle that quite well, although my girls team was super competitive and didn’t have an issue with it either.”
Angelo said her players and their parents have always been supportive of her. She’s never encountered sexism from the school system.
“Because I’ve been doing it so long at (Stanhope Elmore) and I have the buy-in of my administrators and my team and the school, it’s never ever questioned or there at home, but going other places it’s always a little bit different,” Angelo said.
However there have been times when the team plays at another school and people will approach other males thinking they’re the coach. Angelo said she jokes with her players how long it will take for someone to realize she’s the head coach.
“I’m on the field the entire time and I’m with them, but they will literally hunt down a dad who looks look a coach on the sideline before they talk to me,” Angelo said. “It’s not as bad anymore, but it used to be… I like to joke and kind of put them in their place a little bit by not helping them out by not introducing myself.”
Angelo said Women’s Equality Day allows her to do her job without being questioned.
“My little joke aside, like I said, nobody’s ever really asked what I’m doing,” Angelo said. “I think a lot of that is because my players and my parents have always been of the best quality, maybe not always on the field but just character wise and it’s always been about doing what’s best for the kids. I know sometimes my players have been questioned by other teams, but I’m the one at Stanhope Elmore in the Millbrook community who’s actually played and been there and done that regardless of whether I played on a women’s team or not. That’s more important than my gender.”