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Young Monrovia Volleyball Coach Overcomes Challenges

Eighteen-year-old Monrovia volleyball coach, Shalini Caldera, balances an impressive array of responsibilities. 

This past semester, she maintained a 4.0 GPA while coaching two volleyball teams -- a 14-year-old girls team and the Monrovia High School JV Boys -- and playing collegiate volleyball at Citrus College. Shalini, born and raised in nearby Arcadia, began working at Monrovia High School in September as the JV Boys Volleyball head coach.

Her coaching journey has had its challenges. Early in the season, a male referee questioned her ability to coach, even calling a timeout on her behalf because he thought she "looked confused." Her team won that game in two sets without using any timeouts.

In a later tournament, another referee repeatedly referred to her as a "little girl," despite her introducing herself as "Coach Shalini." Despite these interactions, she led her team to third place out of sixteen teams, earning a trophy.

Her team finished the season with nineteen wins and four losses and she believes her perspective as a young female coach contributed to her success as she brings a different perspective to the boys volleyball program.  

She found it difficult to fit into an occupation almost entirely composed of men, and sometimes felt overlooked, however she decided the only way to establish herself was to ignore the jokes and let her coaching speak for itself. 

Shalini's coaching philosophy focuses on developing each athlete both on and off the court. Her goal this season was to positively affect her players' lives through volleyball. While she values the season's success, she places greater importance on the lessons learned and memories made with her team.

Though she faced judgment and ridicule, Shalini found support from her players and credits the Monrovia Boys Volleyball program and her parents for their support. She hopes to inspire young girls to step into roles where women are underrepresented, encouraging the next generation to push back boundaries.

- Submitted by Cindy Caldera


  1. That’s a pretty cool story

  2. Congrats Coach!

  3. Encouraging story of perseverance through trials! Congratulations to Coach Shalini for her season results and best wishes to her in the future. Never give up!

  4. Best coach out there!!