Get to know the Apprentices: Nicolette Cooper


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Meet Nicolette Cooper, an Apprentice here at the Maryland SoccerPlex Sports Turf Institute! 

Nicolette joined the Maryland SoccerPlex team after earning a degree in Athletic Training from the University of New Hampshire Durham. Her previous work in athletics and love for women’s sports drew her to this field, combining her passion for science with the ability to provide the best for athletes. 

“This is Germantown, Maryland, and people across the country, and arguably the world, know of this place. We have some of the best fields you can play on. As an athlete, I always wanted the best, so to be able to provide the best is really cool.” 

The apprenticeship here at the Sports Turf Institute is a challenging and fast-paced environment, which has been another drawing force for Nicolette. Being pushed into new experiences and continuing to learn in a space that encourages questions and a deep understanding of why things are being done is pivotal to her career. “It is a challenge every day, but I also like learning new things. I like being able to step out of my comfort zone in that way.” 

Maryland SoccerPlex hosted the finals for the Big East men’s and women’s soccer teams in the fall of 2022, which Nicolette explained has been her favorite event so far. “All of us were tired and ready to be done with our busy season, but we dug our feet in and got to work. It looked really good, we did flower boxes behind the goals, logos on the field; it was really cool to be a part of that.” 

Nicolette’s long-term goals include continuing her work with Jerad Minnick and one day managing a professional field in the world of women’s sports. Few facilities cater specifically to women’s athletic teams, and Nicolette is determined to help break through that glass ceiling.  

Nicolette’s advice to people who wish to enter sports turf management: know what you are getting into. 

“This job combines science, the environment, physical work, and long hours to create the best quality fields for athletes, not only for their enjoyment but for their health. This job is so incredibly rewarding, but be aware the work necessary makes it challenging as well.” 


Stay tuned to learn about all of our apprentices! To find out more about our apprenticeship program click here!