SMA Alumna, Ameera Farooqui '10, Returns as Lacrosse Coach
Ameera never expected to be a varsity lacrosse coach, let alone coach at her high school alma mater. Today, she describes the opportunity to return to St. Mary’s Academy as a “dream come true.” Ameera, who was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, began playing lacrosse in middle school where she fell in love with the sport. She played all four years at SMA and was a member of the OGLA State Championship teams in both 2007 and 2008. Ameera recalls her time on the SMA lacrosse team as some of her favorite memories from high school. Inspired by her coaches and teachers, Ameera is humbled to be able to act as a role model and mentor for students today both on and off the field, the same way her SMA coach, Holly Zieglar, was for her.
After high school, Ameera attended Portland State University (PSU) where she earned a bachelor's degree in psychology. While PSU didn’t have a lacrosse team, Ameera began coaching, to return to the field. Ameera’s first coaching experience was with beginners, “I started with the youngest kids, teaching basics, how to hold a stick,” before working her way up to coaching varsity high school teams. “Coaching is the gift that keeps on giving, I love it with a passion.” Ameera has been head coach at the varsity level for several years, most recently as the varsity head coach at Southridge where in 2017 she led the team to the Silver State Championship.
When she isn’t on the field, Ameera is a Senior Account Supervisor at Edelman, where she leads global PR for software company SAP. She credits St. Mary’s and the supportive, challenging environment with setting her up for success in college and in the nine years she has spent working on communications. “St. Mary’s instilled in me a confidence, and the understanding that what I have to say has value. At SMA you’re surrounded by people who support and uplift you, and who push you – in a healthy way --to be your best.”
Ameera shared that during her time at PSU, a professor was “impressed but not surprised” to learn such an engaged and confident student was an alumna of St. Mary’s. In addition to the academic preparation, Ameera shares that what made her time at St. Mary’s so special were the deep and lasting friendships she formed. “I still have best friends from St. Mary’s and have maintained these friendships since graduating. I think these relationships have lasted so long because we didn’t have the added pressure of competing with one another.”
“You don’t have to be the best in everything. Remind yourself to have fun and if something doesn't work out the way you wanted to, try something else!” Ameera offers current SMA students this advice, “Pivoting and thinking on your feet in moments of adversity is such an important skill." These words of wisdom will go far beyond successes on the field. We are grateful to have Ameera leading our varsity lacrosse team, sharing her experience, knowledge, and passion for the sport with our students.