The Lafayette Lancers announced a new Head Girls coach in January, Melissa Lantz Schroeder, who is a 2006 graduate. Lantz returned to the school as a teacher following her graduation from Missouri State in 2011 and is also the Field Hockey coach in the Fall. She lettered all four years in both Field Hockey and Soccer at Lafayette (plus two Basketball letters), while finishing as the second leading scorer in St. Louis with 28 goals and 14 assists and second in scoring in Lafayette school history with 83 goals and 49 assists as a senior.
She replaces Tim Walters who retired after 23 years with a record of 450-117-29, placing him third in the State history books. Melissa Lantz Schroeder, Lafayette Lancers
PHOTO GALLERY Lafayette Lancers featuring Coach Schroeder
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Walters was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015 in recognition of his professional career as well as over 25 years of High School coaching. In addition to his 450 girls games won, with one State title with three additional visits to the Final Four (Lantz was part of two of them, in 2003 and 2006), he also won 372 boys games. He retired from the boys side following the 2017 season with the goal of seeing his son Tim, Head Coach for the Omaha women’s soccer program, and his grandchildren.
I had anticipated visiting the team on Wednesday but Coach Schroeder is working on her PhD in Education and had class so my Wildwood visit was Thursday. It turns out I met Melissa in 2008 during her time in Springfield (see more below) and it was a pleasure seeing how far she has come, including marrying a Lafayette grad and raising their under 2 year old son. How does she do it?
AUDIO INTERVIEW (2:30 min)
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Welcome to our new Lafayette Girls Soccer Program instagram page! Introducing your newest Varsity coaches for the upcoming 2020 season. Head Coach: Melissa Schroeder is our new Head Coach for the Lafayette Girls Soccer program after serving as the Assistant Varsity Coach for multiple years. Coach Schroeder played for Lafayette for 4 years at the Varsity level and has been teaching PE at LHS for 10 years. Her fantastic experience and enthusiasm will be vital as she leads the program. Assistant Varsity Coach: Ryan Butchart will begin his first season on the Lafayette Girls Soccer Program staff after recently finishing his first season as the Lafayette Boys Head Coach. Coach Butchart played for Lafayette and graduated in 2013, before going on to play 4 years of collegiate soccer at NCAA Division II Lindenwood University.
The team returns some key players with Sr. Natalie Phelps (Illinois) in goal and leading scorer So. Rylee Howard (30 goals, 9 GWG in a 15-3 season) the best known names by now. Seniors Rachel Martin (Maryville) and Shannon McGinnis (Webster), junior Brynne Jeffries who won a national championship with Lou Fusz last Summer as well as sophomore Lily Zehner should all have a major impact. While overall numbers are down somewhat this year, the program had incoming transfers from Eureka (3) as well as an out-of-state student that looked good during practice Thursday.
I had the opportunity to meet Melissa more than a decade ago when she spent three years on the sidelines with the Kickapoo Chiefs high school girls soccer program while attending Missouri State and playing Field Hockey. She assisted Phil Hodge for three years before returning to Lafayette after graduating to join the teaching ranks.