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New boy joins UA women's soccer team

By Kate Longworth
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 31, 1998
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Women's head soccer coach Lisa Fraser talks to players at a game last year. Yesterday, Fraser gave birth to her first child, Robert Howard, while her husband, assistant coach Bruce Caris, stood by her side.

The newest player on the women's soccer team isn't an incoming freshman, but rather a newborn.

"It's a boy," were the first words on women's soccer head coach Lisa Fraser's answering machine this morning.

Fraser gave birth Sunday at 3:15 a.m. to a son, Robert Howard.

Standing by Fraser's side during her 20-hour labor was her assistant coach and husband of nine years, Bruce Caris.

Robert is Fraser and Caris' first child.

Fraser and Caris met in 1986 at Case Western Reserve University, where Fraser was the head coach for the women's soccer program and Caris the assistant men's soccer coach.

"Our situation is not completely unique. There are actually three or four other married couples coaching in the NCAA soccer league," Caris said.

Fortunately, the birth of Robert shouldn't keep this coaching duo apart for too long, Caris said.

"I think as soon as Lisa can walk, she'll be back with the team," he said.

Until Fraser does return to the sidelines, assistant coaches Caris and Jen Netherwood will pick up where she left off.

"The timing of the baby couldn't be more perfect. With the arrival of the baby at the beginning of the season, all of our team's wonders and questions can now be answered," said Netherwood, who is entering her third year with the women's program.

The players shared in the excitement with their coaches on the new arrival, and agreed that it was a relief to have Fraser deliver before the season starts tomorrow night against Glendale Community College at Murphey Stadium.

"Now we can completely focus on our season without any 'ifs' to each possibility, 'if Lisa goes into labor this trip, or misses this game' ... all the wondering is over, and there will be no babies delivered on the plane on one of our road trips," sophomore defender Ann Giallonardo said.

Caris reported that Fraser will be ready to coach the team at the opening game this week.

He added that as the game plan stands now, he and Netherwood will travel with the team on the first road trip to Wyoming this coming weekend, but after that Fraser will join the team to continue the season.

"Lisa will not be taking maternity leave," Caris said.

Caris had previously speculated that this announcement wouldn't hold the girls back in their playing, just surprise them a bit.

"All the girls but one figured that a feminist like Lisa had to have a daughter," he said.

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