Women’s soccer names Laura Wayland assistant coach, rounds out staff

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University Women’s soccer and its Head Coach Jon Sandoval have named Laura Wayland to be the team’s new assistant coach.

Wayland has been a volunteer assistant with NMU the past two seasons before moving into her new full-time role. In her time with the Wildcats, she has been an intrical part of the team’s defensive successes.

Wayland is currently the head girls soccer coach at Marquette Senior High School as well as the vice president of the Superiorland Soccer Board. Wayland possesses a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Northern Colorado and a master’s degree in education from Northern Michigan.

“This is a great hire for the program and the community,” Sandoval said. “Laura is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. She is a dedicated soccer professional who is filled with enthusiasm, knowledge and experience. Having lived in Marquette for nearly a decade, she is a staple in the soccer community. She is a servant leader that has a positive effect on everyone she meets. Having personally worked with Laura the past two years I can say with confidence that the team and I are ecstatic about this hire!”

A former soccer player at both the NCAA Division I and II levels, Wayland provides plenty of experience and knowledge of the game for the Green and Gold. She started her career at Division II Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado. In her year there, the team advanced to the final four of the NCAA Tournament.

She then continued her career at Division I University of Northern Colorado. The center back played three seasons for the Bears, earning Big Sky All-Conference twice. Wayland made over 50 career starts for the Bears. In her final year, Wayland captained the UNC Bears, helping the team capture a Big South Conference regular season title.

Haley Viitala

Sandoval also announced the addition of volunteer coach Haley Viitala. Born and raised in Marquette, Viitala is a former Wildcat, playing for NMU from 2011-15. She played center back, was team captain her senior year, and helped with NMU youth camps while attending college. Viitala graduated from NMU with a bachelor’s degree in management of health and fitness in 2015. Viitala was previously a volunteer assistant soccer coach at NMU from 2015-2018.

Peter Griggs

Griggs enters his third year as the Wildcats goalkeeper coach. Griggs works with the goalkeepers and the defensive core. The past two seasons, he has helped Shenea Kreps move into second place in career wins at Northern Michigan.

The Wildcats will open the 2022 on the road for two matches the last weekend of August, as they play at St. Cloud State on Aug. 25 and at Minnesota Duluth on Aug. 27. The first home games for NMU will take place on Sept. 2 and 4, as the Wildcats welcome Bemidji State and Minnesota Crookston and to Marquette.


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