Coaching the opposite sex really isn’t a big deal. Just ask Georgia State’s Ed Joyce

In his first season as head coach, Gene Hill led Georgia State to a 17-13 record, its best since the 2003-2004 season. Photo submitted by Georgia State Athletics

Men coaching male athletes is ubiquitous and may be more favorable for both parties. But what about men coaching female athletes? 

Ed Joyce, head coach for the Georgia State women’s soccer team, has experienced both.

Coaching is all about having the skills to make your athletes better at what they do while having patience and persistence. 

To Joyce, it’s all about maintaining a successful sports program, no matter the gender.

“I don’t think there are any challenges coaching women that don’t also exist coaching men,” Joyce said. “The challenges that exist are the same for both in terms of knowing how to communicate with your players.”

Joyce’s lengthy coaching background involves working with athletes of the same gender as himself. To him, there are no differences when it comes to coaching male and female athletes. It’s all about knowing how your players are motivated and tapping into those motivations to push your team to be the best they can be.

“I coached men’s soccer for eight years, including four with the men’s team here at Georgia State,” Joyce said. “Every team is different, so it’s hard to compare teams. Especially in college where you only have players for four years, the team chemistry changes every season.”

Many people believe that male coaches tend to be more intense and harsher than female coaches. Joyce believes that this is far from the truth. 

“I don’t necessarily think that male coaches are more or less tense than female coaches,” Joyce said. “I’ve seen plenty of tense coaches, both men and women. My job is to figure out how to best coach my team each season.”

To Joyce, the gender of a coach is the last thing that people should look for. The only thing that should stand out is a coach’s work ethic and strong determination to make their team better and better each day.

“The coach’s ability matters,” Joyce said. “If the coach understands their player and program, that’s how you build a championship program. You have to know your players. What works on one student-athlete might not work on another. The more ways you can learn to communicate, the more effective you are when coaching up your team.”

Having a strong love and dedication to your sport is not separated by gender. Male and female athletes are equally tenacious when it comes to their competitive spirit.

“Female athletes have the same drive and desire to win at their sport the same way their male counterparts have in their sport,” Joyce said. “The styles might be a bit different, but the goals to be successful are the same.”

Since 2016, Coach Joyce has been a dedicated coach for the Panthers, leading them to multiple appearances in the Sun Belt Conferences Tournaments and eight or more wins in back-to-back seasons. 

His time at Georgia State has brought many accomplishments and record-breaking wins, showing that gender plays no role in how well one can lead a team to victory.

“I’ve had a blast coaching my teams here at Georgia State,” Joyce said. “We’ve been fortunate to have some great people on these teams, and I’m excited and grateful to lead this program.”