Harpers' hiring is subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, which includes Northwestern State.
Harper was a student-athlete at Florida before transferring to South Florida to finish her career and degree.
She volunteered as an assistant coach in the spring and assisted with various phases of the USF program with a focus on fundraising.
“We are excited to have Marsha as part of our staff. She came to us highly recommended from the South Florida staff. After speaking with her, we realized she was exactly what we needed to help our program continue to grow,” said Van Linder, who will begin his third season at the helm on Aug. 22.
The Denver, Colo. native, also served as the director of operations for the program during the summer, and helped the Bulls as a staff coach during their soccer camps, which included the development of various age groups on technical and tactical skills through weeklong camps.
During the spring of 2014, Harper worked with the FC Tampa Rangers Soccer Club as the developmental director for the U13 girls. She also served as an assistant coach for U14 and U9 girls.
In 2012, she worked as a staff coach for the Future 50 Soccer Camp and worked with girl’s development and skills.
“In the short time she has been with the team, she has already made an impact with the program,” said Van Linder. “I’m excited to have her play a part in the development of this program.”
Harper was a member of the South Florida student-athlete advisory council and was the team captain for the Bulls from 2011-13.
Listed as a forward and defender, Harper tallied two goals and four assists in 47 career games with the South Florida Bulls.
“To have a coach who as a player has been to three NCAA tournaments is impressive,” said Van Linder. “The fact that she has her master’s degree in exercise science and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America national diploma is also a testament to her work to become a strong coach.”
While at Florida, she earned the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports-Scholar Award and the Southeastern Conference Community Service Award.
She was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll from 2008-10.
She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in applied science from USF in 2012 and earned her master’s in exercise science from South Florida in 2014.
Northwestern State opens its season against Louisiana College on Aug. 22 at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex and will host ULM two days later.