After only her second year as Walton’s girls soccer coach, Megan Tymchuk said farewell to the program.

Despite the short stint at the Lady Raiders’ helm, Tymchuk found plenty of success, enough to be named the 2021 Cobb County Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.

Walton has been a regular in the state playoffs over the years, and that trend did not stop with Tymchuk at the helm. The Lady Raiders boasted a record of 25-4 over her two years, including an impressive 17-4 in 2021.

An 8-2 record was enough for the Lady Raiders to claim third in Region 3AAAAAAA before working their way to the final four of the Class AAAAAAA state tournament.

Even with the team’s success and coach of the year award, Tymchuk was more proud of her girls and what they overcame this year.

“I’m just very proud of our team this year,” said Tymchuk, a Kell graduate who went on to play soccer at Kennesaw State. “We had to overcome a lot, and the girls had a lot that was working against them. I’m really proud of how much they stepped up to the plate and really overcame a lot of those challenges from the season.”

The 2021 season was no easy journey for Walton as COVID-19, recruiting visits and other obstacles worked as roadblocks throughout the year.

Tymchuk and her players did not bat an eye.

“I think that it took a lot of leadership and a lot of experience playing through the playoffs and playing that long of a season, so I know the younger girls really looked to that,” Tymchuk said.

Having eight seniors on the varsity team was a large part of the success Walton was able to find this year. Tymchuk expressed how thankful she was for senior captains Anna Jarkins, Izzie Paden and Lindsay Jenson and praised the impact they were able to have on the team.

Tymchuk’s coaching style revolves around building relationships, and she said her seniors bought into the message. She credited relationships like those as her favorite part of coaching.

“One hundred percent, the relationships that I get to build with the girls,” Tymchuk said. “My coaching style is really based on relationship-building.”

Creating chemistry and team bonding is important to Tymchuk and her strategy. Walton players enjoyed bagel breakfasts together once a week, wrote letters to one another that were read before games for motivation and took part in pregame meals — all three of which brought the team closer together.

Leaving these relationships is the hardest part for Tymchuk, who is poised to take the next step in her journey. She will be moving to the new Pearson Middle School near Smyrna to teach special education, putting an end to her short yet successful coaching career.

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