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The Florida State Seminoles women's soccer team and 6th Marine Corps District staff stand inside the Seminoles soccer complex at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, March 31, 2022. The 6MCD staff and the Jacksonville Officer Selection Team held leadership discussions with FSU staff and athletes and led them in events such as Battle Position, the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer, and the Marine Corps Flight Orientation Program. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kevin Lopez Herrera)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Kevin Lopez Herrera

Challenging Champions

20 Apr 2022 | By Lance Cpl. Kevin Lopez Herrera 6th Marine Corps District

The 6th Marine Corps District staff and Recruiting Station Jacksonville’s Officer Selection Team visited the three-time National Champions, the Florida State Seminoles women's soccer team, on March 31st, 2022, at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. The team went on to claim their third National Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship title on December of last year.

"It is extraordinary to witness what the FSU soccer program has accomplished over the years. In 2000, as a Florida State University student, I enjoyed the program's first NCAA tournament appearance and, after 22 years, I am proud to call these student athletes the top ranked team in the Nation,” said Lt. Col. José L. Montalván, the district recruiting operations officer for 6MCD. “They are, without a doubt, the program to emulate in the NCAA. The trophy room and pictures on the walls speak volumes of their accomplishments. They make me proud to be an FSU Alumnus.”

The day began with the Marines getting together with the team’s staff for a guided discussion where Col. Lance J. Langfeldt, commanding officer of 6MCD, led the discussion with topics regarding communication, leadership, and utilizing a chain of command.

“The discipline, focus, and dedication of each of the Marines that we met was incredible. We learned the value of perseverance and we were reminded of the importance of the team and supporting one another,” said Nathan Minion, the Seminoles’ director of operations. “We cannot thank the Marines enough for sharing their experiences and their service for our country.”

After the leadership discussion, the staff was divided into three groups to be rotated through simulations. Stations included The Battle Position, a simulation where individuals compete against a virtual opponent in a hand-to-hand pugil stick battle; the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer, where individuals use an air powered M4 Service Rifle to shoot down virtual targets; and the Marine Corps Flight Orientation Program, where individuals virtually pilot different aircraft through various scenarios. The Enhanced Marketing Vehicle team brought a pull-up bar and ammunition cans for the staff to test their strength, and players were able to log their repetitions on a scoreboard, creating friendly competition. Soon, the air was filled with competition and encouragement, and the staff spent the afternoon challenging each other in good spirit.

After the staff finished the simulation stations, Marines met the champions themselves, the Seminoles women’s soccer team. Langfeldt, Montalván, Maj. Charlyne D. Lawrence, the Recruiting Station Jacksonville commanding officer, and Maj. David E. Rosenbrock, the assistant for officer procurement, addressed the athletes and conducted guided discussions.

Minion explained the staff’s goal is to help players become better, more responsible teammates and leaders and that it was incredible to hear from Col. Langfeldt about his experience leading various groups and teams. Those real-world examples of leadership in the face of adversity will definitely help the players and team going forward. After their discussion, the champions were rotated through the same virtual simulators as the staff.

“My favorite part was the jet simulation,” said Jenna Nighswonger, a forward/midfielder for the Seminoles. “Regardless of how everyone did, the Marine in charge told us that our first time did not define how the rest of our flight simulations would go. It reinforced the idea that if you fail the first time, it doesn’t mean you will fail every time.”

Once everyone had an opportunity at each station, the team regrouped, and the scores were displayed. The Marines presented the best performers of the day with a Pacesetter Challenge Coin. Summer Denigan, received the coin for most ammunition can lifts, and Jody Brown received a coin for the most pull-ups. There were also two more awards presented that day: one to the team’s goalkeeper, Cristina Roque, presented by Montalván; and another to the captain of the team, Emily Madril, presented by Langfeldt.

“I cannot think of any better role models and leaders than the Marines for our players to learn about leadership, teamwork, and overcoming adversity,” Minion said. “The time that our players and staff were able to spend learning from Col. Langfeldt and his team will help all of us both on and off the soccer field.”

To request a guest speaker or leadership discussions for your high school, college, university, or sports team, contact your local Recruiting Station’s Marketing and Communication Marine at https://www.6thmcd.marines.mil/contact-us/.


6th Marine Corps District