Erica Suter was a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer, Exercise Science Master’s student and fitness professional based in Baltimore, MD. She is a lover of soccer, crushing sushi rolls, drinking fireball whiskey, jumping out of airplanes, reading Buddhism books on a Friday evening, and she believes the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is the greatest invention EVER.
She is a former college All-American soccer player from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and still live there today. After graduating college, Erica coached and played soccer in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, and since she came home, she decided that she wanted to coach kids as part of her lifestyle. Her passions are soccer, strength and conditioning, and injury prevention, and have grown into a young entrepreneur with her own soccer academy in Maryland. Her academy started as technical skills training only, but has grown into a combination of soccer work, strength and conditioning, and pre-rehab to prevent injury, into a soccer-strength-part physical therapist coach.
On the side, she loves to blog and write about women’s body image issues, strength training, and soccer training for youth development.
Are there fitness icons who influenced or inspired you to become a soccer player and fitness coach?
My favorite fitness icons are more in the strength and conditioning field, as I am beginning to work more with athletes and soccer players. I currently follow Tony Gentilcore and Bret Contreras, who have inspired me to constantly learn from research and experience when I’m programming for my clients. I also have learned from them to pay it forward, be a good person, and not take yourself too seriously in this industry. Good things will happen when you follow your passion and care about people.
How do you compare yourself with the other fitness coach? Do you think your being soccer player is an advantage?
I’m very sarcastic and relatable, whether I’m training a senior citizen at my facility, or a 12 year old soccer on the field. I love connecting with people and learning something from others each day. Being open and warm hearted is something that people learn about me quickly, and I believe that is important in a field where others put their bodies into your hands. It’s scary! So you have to have a coach you trust on a much deeper level. Being a soccer player is definitely an advantage in the fitness field because you already have a solid foundation of movement patterns, strength and conditioning training, and functional anatomy. Also, soccer chicks are pretty damn cool and we naturally exude a lot of confidence and female empowerment.
What are your future plans or goals in the fitness industry?
I am currently in my Master’s program doing a strength and conditioning internship at University of Maryland working with all of the Olympic sports teams (lacrosse, soccer, gymnastics, wrestling, baseball, tennis), while also running my soccer academy and blogging on the side. My goal is to eventually be a full-time strength coach but also continue my soccer coaching education to get my USSF A license. Either way, I will always continue to make time for my soccer players no matter how busy I get in the college sector working with other sports teams. “Working” 7 days a week has become more of a lifestyle and livelihood (I’ve been doing it for the past three years as a young women in her mid 20s), instead of a burden. I also see the strength and conditioning field becoming more specialized, and college soccer teams will have their own strength coach who is knowledgeable of the game AND who has played for many years. I see this happening in football and basketball already, so why wouldn’t it happen for other sports? To me, it’s best to know both worlds.
Can you tell us more about your struggles and winning moments as a soccer player?
My main struggles as a soccer player came from serious injuries and being taken out of the game for long periods of time. However, these setbacks always fueled me to come back stronger, which made me a much more resilient human being in all aspects of my life. There’s just something empowering about coming back from 9 months off and totally kicking butt your first season back! It also shows how much you are capable of if shit hits the fan and life doesn’t go your way. However, I don’t want my players to ever go through major injuries, which is why my sessions involve a lot of prehab exercises before we get started with our skills training. If an injury were to occur with one of my players, I would help them get through it as a coach and friend based on my experiences.
Any shout outs?
Bret Conteras: thank you for propelling the strength and conditioning field forward and motivating me to stay on top of my shit. And making my butt look amazing and shoot powerful shots on the soccer field.
Also, to Mike Boyle: thank you for simplifying strength and conditioning programming and setting the standard for the rest of us, and owning your opinions no matter how much criticism you get. Haters gonna hate! Also, can we grab a beer some time?
Lastly, where can we find you on the internet?