Beyond her 300th win, Dallamora is a players' coach

Women's soccer head coach praised for contributions both on and off the field after achieving milestone

Photo/Mike Lovett

Catch the butterfly.

To the soccer players who have played for Denise Dallamora, the phrase is a quintessential Dallamoraism — a pithy, if obscure, mantra about achievement on and off the playing field.

“Catch the butterfly” is Dallamora’s way of urging players to work hard and achieve their potential rather than focusing solely on results. It’s a winning strategy, nonetheless: Dallamora became the 14th Division III women's soccer coach to notch 300 wins after Brandeis beat Clark University 1-0 on Aug. 31. 

“When I talk to my team, I don’t cater to the individual,” says Dallamora, head coach of the women’s soccer team since 1970. I didn’t focus on the 300th win because it’s kind of against our culture to put something for me ahead of the team.”

“She makes soccer like life,” says Ali Theodore ’12, who regularly returns to campus to attend matches at Gordon Field. “Before our games we would say ‘work hard and winning will take care of itself.’ That’s the same idea she wanted us to embrace in the classroom or with work.”

Many of Dallamora’s former players are still close to her, venturing into her office, often unannounced, for advice or a good chat. Theodore and her twin sister and fellow teammate Mimi sought out Dallamora for advice regarding their next steps after Brandeis.

“She’s someone I can turn to for anything,” says Mimi Theodore, who is attending New England School of Law with her sister. “She wrote us letters of recommendation when we applied to law school. There’s so much I can use off the field that I learned from her, even if it’s a question about family. I can just step inside her office.”

“Denise cares about her players, on the field and off,” adds Ali Theodore. “She made sure we were prepared as best possible, in soccer and in academics. She constantly asked how my classes were going. She felt what worked in the classroom would work on the field.”

Helping Dallamora achieve her 300th win was easy for her team to rally around. “We are her family; we are all her daughters, even once we graduate,” says captain Alec Spivack ’15, who plays midfield and central defense. “That’s the way she is with us.”

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