SHS alumna comes back to lead the Big Blue

Recently, Swampscott High School hired Jaymie Caponigro, Class of 2017, as its next girls varsity soccer coach. Though Caponigro is only 24, she believes she’s ready for this challenge of leading the Big Blue for her first big coaching job.

Caponigro was born and raised in Swampscott. Because of her father, Joe, Caponigro mentioned that she was always around coaching.

“I grew up in a coaching household. My dad is a coach and has been a coach for years and is currently the Swampscott baseball coach,” Caponigro said. “I’ve always seen both sides of coaching. I’ve seen what goes on behind the scenes of coaching in addition to the impact he’s had on people by coaching.”

Caponigro played soccer at Swampscott before finishing her playing career at Endicott College, where she first started to fall in love with coaching.

“When I was younger I worked in clinics and camps so I got a taste of coaching then,” Caponigro said. “When I was playing at Endicott, one of my assistant coaches was a club coach and asked if I wanted to give it a try, so I did, and I fell in love with it.”

Through coaching the girls team on the club level, Caponigro felt there was a special relationship between her players and herself.

“Going through all the different sports I played, I never realized that I only had two female head coaches – my high school basketball coach and my coach at Endicott,” Caponigro said. “It’s kind of a unique thing and when I started to get involved with coaching, I was coaching on the girls side, and it’s kind of unique to have someone to connect with in your sport who you identify with.”

After coaching club soccer, Caponigro then started to go back to Swampscott to help volunteer with its soccer team. It wasn’t long until the coaching position opened and Caponigro decided to throw her name into the hat.

“I knew this was something I wanted to pursue. It was a great way to stay involved in the game to fill the void of not competing in it anymore,” Caponigro said.

After completing the interview process, Caponigro got a phone call informing her she got the job.

“I couldn’t stop smiling. I was very happy,” Caponigro said. “I wasn’t necessarily expecting it. I knew it was a very competitive position. To get the phone call knowing I got the job was amazing. Then my brain started to move a mile a minute to figure out what was going to happen next.”

Despite being only 24, Caponigro believes she has more experience than her age suggests.

“I know I’m a younger coach and don’t have that veteran experience, but soccer has been a part of my life and being a competitor has been a part of my life for the majority of my life,” Caponigro said. “Having recently gone through being a high school and college athlete, I know I bring a lot of knowledge to the table.”

As a Big Blue graduate, Caponigro can relate to her players in ways other coaches can’t.

“As an alumna, I’ve been in their shoes, I know the day-to-day stuff the kids go through,” Caponigro said. “There’s no more pride you can feel than coaching at a place where you were a player.”

Caponigro acknowledges that there will be challenges, but she hopes that getting to know some of the girls last season when she volunteered will help the transition.

“I think it’s natural in human nature to not like change. I feel not everyone likes change, so it might be an adjustment for some of the girls to get used to my coaching style, what our plan is, and buying into our team values,” Caponigro said. “I think being around most of the girls last season means it won’t be too much of a change.”

Caponigro won’t have to do it all by herself, as former teammate and Swampscott alumna Meg Marocco will be on the sidelines as one of Caponigro coaches.

Caponigro praised Swampscott for helping her become ready and lead the Big Blue soccer team at a young age.

“I was lucky enough to go through an athletics program where I’ve had great coaches and great role models, who were able to show me what it means to be a coach, but more importantly what it means to be a member of this community,” Caponigro said. “When you put on your Swampscott Big Blue jersey, it runs a bit deeper.”