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College W. Soccer: RCSJ Gloucester thriving with Ruttler at the helm

09/13/2019, 4:00pm EDT
By Gus Ostrum, RCSJ Gloucester

Veteran coach always has team in national spotlight, but her influence stretches beyond the field

Think the word hasn't spread? Just ask any Roadrunner women's soccer player the reason they chose to pursue their collegiate careers at RCSJ Gloucester.

You will hear a loud and clear message nearly every time. The young athletes cite coach Megan Ruttler as a key factor in their decisions to continue their athletic and academic careers here, citing the veteran mentor as a:    

 

  • Winning and dedicated coach.
  • Former talented athlete.
  • Dedicated mom and family member.
  • Respected college administrator and mentor.

Yes, Megan Ruttler's well-deserved reputation has spread into the South Jersey community like wildfire. Quite simply, she has served as a solid role model for the young women who have proudly worn the Roadrunner blue and gold under her guidance over a 10-year period.

That's precisely why highly touted freshman goalkeeper Allison Gebhart signed a national letter of intent with RCSJ Gloucester last spring.

"I'm excited to be here," said Gebhart, a former standout from Delsea Regional High School. "I've heard a lot about Coach Megan (Ruttler) and what a great role model she is.  I'm looking forward to contributing to the team's success."

Ditto for sophomore Angelina Mowad, a former Washington Township High star who helped the Runners advance to last season's Region XIX championship game.

"I personally love her as a person and a coach -- she really gets to know you as a person," said Mowad. "When you do something wrong she tells you, so you can fix it. Even if it's something outside of soccer, even for personal stuff -- she's great to come to as well."

Ruttler joined the Roadrunner staff in January of 2010. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for College & Career Readiness at Rowan College South Jersey for the Gloucester and Cumberland campuses in addition to her coaching duties. She oversees the college's premier partnerships with the local high school population.

With more than 100 career victories, she is the winningest coach in RCSJ Gloucester women's soccer history! In 2012, Ruttler led the women's soccer team to the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament in which the Roadrunners finished 2nd.  In 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the Roadrunners advanced to the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.  The National Soccer Coaches Association of America has ranked Roadrunner teams in the top 20 the past several years.

​Under coach Ruttler's leadership, the women's soccer program has won five Region XIX Championships, four District Championships, and a Garden State Athletic Conference championship.  Additionally, the program has produced several NJCAA All-Americans.  Ruttler was named NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2016, and her staff selected as Regional Staff of the Year in 2017.

Megan cites the support from the Roadrunner Athletics Department and RCSJ Administration for allowing her to flourish in her career.

"Everyone has been behind our program 100 percent, starting with our Athletic Department administrators right on up to our college Board of Trustees," Ruttler notes.

She also credits long-time first assistant coach Julie Chini, who has been with her on the sidelines for all 10 seasons. Chini coached in the Roadrunner program prior to Ruttler's arrival and also coached at Glassboro High School for several seasons. A current employee in the Clearview Regional School District, Chini also played Division I soccer and lacrosse at La Salle University.

"Julie (Chini) is amazing!," said Ruttler.  "Like me, she is a working mom and has really been a mentor and friend to me, in addition to a coaching partner. By no means do I view her as an assistant coach -- she has the ability to run her own NCAA DI program. All of our successes are shared. She is a big reason why this program and I have been successful."

Ruttler has also added former South Jersey star and former Bucks CC coach Maria Grady to the staff. "We are thrilled to have her on board as we move into the next decade of coaching," said Coach Ruttler.

A former standout player herself at Brick Township (2001 graduate) and Richard Stockton College, Megan never forgot the transition young athletes make from high school to college and ultimately into their own successful careers.

College indeed proved to be a key part of her life – at Stockton, she met future husband Greg, then a senior on Stockton's national championship team and currently the Ospreys' head coach, when she was a freshman. She enjoyed a solid playing career and went on to earn her baccalaureate degree in Criminal Justice. Coach Ruttler later earned a Master of Science degree in Recreation and Sport Sciences with a focus in Coaching Education through Ohio University in 2014.

"I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career, but I always knew I wanted to coach," she said. "That was natural for me."

Prior to joining the Roadrunner coaching staff, Ruttler spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Stockton University. Upon graduating from Stockton, Ruttler coached at Winslow Township High School and Wall Township High School before returning to her alma mater to coach.  She also spent time coaching for Player Development Academy (PDA).

A current resident of Atlantic County with her husband and two daughters, Megan's coaching philosophy aligns with strong personal and family values.

"We stress to the players that they not only represent themselves, but they represent the program and the college on and off the field.

"The players are coming from all over the region. Trying to get one set of expectations is a challenge. This year we involved the players and asked them – "What do you feel the expectations should be and how should we all be held accountable?"

The 2019 season is now underway, and Director of Athletics Brian Rowan cites how the women's soccer program continues to remain in good hands under Ruttler's and Chini's leadership.

"Megan (Ruttler) and Julie (Chini) have done a remarkable job with the program leading the team to conference and regional championships over a decade," commented Rowan. "They mean a lot more to the students and our department than just wins on the field – as role models for our students, as leaders, and as ambassadors for our program – they have set a standard for the program that we are really proud of."

 

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