Cassidy Formanek reunites with Iowa soccer associate head coach Blair Quinn

The defender last competed Quinn when she was a freshman at the University of Houston. Now, they’re reunited in Iowa City for Formanek’s fifth season.


Stephen Pinchback

Contributed by University of Houston Athletics.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

When Cassidy Formanek was seeking advice on where to continue her soccer career as a graduate transfer, she called a former coach — Blair Quinn.

Quinn, Iowa soccer’s associate head coach, last instructed Formanek at the University of Houston in her freshman season in 2018. Prior to the 2019 season, Quinn moved to Iowa to join the Hawkeyes’ coaching staff while Formanek continued her soccer career in Texas.

Now, the two are reunited in Iowa City for the 2022 season. The Hawkeyes had an open spot for the graduate transfer when she reached out to Quinn. Formanek officially signed with Iowa in November.

“So, I’ve known Blair since I was really young,” Formanek said. “He’s been a part of my recruiting process since I was in high school. So, that was part of the reason why I came here, just because Blair is an amazing coach and he’s awesome. And then once I came to tour, I noticed that the facilities are amazing as well.”

Along with her positive impression of the Hawkeyes’ soccer amenities, Formanek liked the offerings of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business.

Formanek is looking to further her business education at Iowa after earning a degree in supply chain management at Houston. She’s a non-degree seeking graduate student in the spring 2022 semester and will start her master’s degree in the business analytics program in the fall.

Quinn first recruited Formanek to Arizona State in 2016, when he was on the Sun Devils’ coaching staff. Originally, Formanek committed to Arizona State, but a head coaching change caused her to withdraw her commitment. Quinn then became the associate head coach at Houston in 2017 and convinced her to join him at his new program.

“The first thing I would say about her is she’s tenacious,” Quinn said. “She’s an absolute hammer as a center back. In my opinion, I think every team needs one of those. We just loved her tenacity and the way she went after the ball and her ability to win tackles was fantastic.”

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Formanek said she enjoys playing center back not just for her love of hard-tackling other players, but because it gives her a vision of the entire field to lead her teammates. She was a team captain in her final season as a Cougar.

“Out on the field, I’m pretty vocal,” Formanek said. “I like to put people where they need to be, but off the field I like to lead more by example, and I like to work really hard and try my best in every drill and every day. Even when I’m not feeling the best, effort is really important to me. That’s the one thing that I think you can control is how hard you try every day.”

The defender from Evergreen, Colorado, started offseason practices with her new teammates during the first week of the spring 2022 semester.

Though the fall 2022 season won’t kick off until August, Formanek said she is to compete for a program that puts an emphasis on defense. Fifth-year defender Sara Wheaton, a 2021 All-Big Ten second-team selection, and senior Sam Cary will return for the Hawkeyes’ backline.

“Defense has always been my favorite,” Formanek said. “I know there’s a saying like, ‘Defense wins games,’ and I think that’s true. If you keep a clean sheet, it’s a lot easier to win a game and defense is just extremely important. I’m very excited to be a part of such an amazing defense.”

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