When the Washington and Washington State women’s soccer team meet next fall, the rivalry will have an added twist.
Tina Frimpong Ellertson has joined the Huskies’ program as an assistant coach, the school announced Tuesday.
“It’s a very special thing being able to wear the UW crest and representing your alma mater,” Ellertson said. “Not a lot of people get to do it. I’m humbled and very thankful.”
The Hudson’s Bay graduate is the all-time leader in goals scored and total points at Washington, earning Pac-12 Player of the Year honors in 2003 and 2004. The Huskies reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in Ellertson’s senior season in 2004.
“When I look back at all that, those college years are where I truly grew and learned to believe in myself and found my game,” Ellertson said. “I’m so lucky to get to go back and pour everything back into it.”
After playing professional and being a member of the U.S. National Team for five years, Ellertson moved onto coaching. Ellertson has coached for U.S. Soccer, FC Salmon Creek and spent five years as the head girls coach at King’s Way Christian, where she coached her daughter MacKenzie.
In 2018, during MacKenzie’s senior season, King’s Way Christian advanced to the 1A state championship game for the first time in school history, falling to La Salle of Yakima in the title game.
MacKenzie Frimpong-Ellertson is now a sophomore forward at Washington State, helping the Cougars reach the NCAA Final Four last fall.
Next fall, daughter and mom will be on opposite sidelines.
“Her and I have always written our own story; our paths have never been straight,” Ellertson said of the new fold in her relationship with her oldest daughter. “We can do this and bring comedy and joy to it when competing against each other. She wants the best for me just as much as I want the best for her.”
When the opportunity arose for Ellertson to join the Huskies’ staff, she queried her eldest daughter and husband, Brad, about the potential hurdles. For one, she would be away — for months each year — from her home in Vancouver and kids, Mya and Mason, who attend King’s Way Christian School. Secondly, she’d miss many of MacKenzie’s games.
Live your dream, they told her without hesitation.
“Tina is an exceptional addition to our staff,” Washington head coach Nicole Van Dyke said in a UW news release. “Her energy and passion for the program and the university are infectious. Having played at UW and with the U.S. National Team, and having experience coaching at the highest level, she brings a wealth of experiences to the program.”