Kiely now Westmont’s head coach

Westmont Athletic Director Dave Odell has named Kristi Kiely as the new head coach of Westmont women’s soccer, effective immediately. Kiely, who was promoted to Associate Head Coach last August, has served on the Warrior coaching staff for the last two seasons.

“Kristi Kiely is the right person at the right time,” said Odell. “Her integrity, intelligence and ability to learn quickly made Coach Kiely our top choice to lead this storied program. She has been home grown here at Westmont through the mentoring of our most successful soccer coaches.  Four years as a player under Mike Giuliano and two years under Dave Wolf’s leadership as a coach have given her the blue print for what it takes to build a successful program at this institution.”

“I am overwhelmingly excited to be a part of the community,” said Kiely, “Both my husband and I are excited about continuing our relationship with the Westmont community and about the opportunity to continue on with this particular group of young women. I am certainly excited to start implementing my vision and the things that I think I have to offer to the program that has given so much to me.”

Dave Wolf, who coached the women’s team the last two years, will focus his efforts on the men’s team as he enters his twentieth year as the head coach of that program.

“I was the one who initiated the conversation relative to what is in the best interest of the student-athletes,” said Wolf. “That’s what is at the heart of this. Kristi is passionate about every aspect of the program and to be an effective coach at Westmont, you need to be passionate about every last detail of what happens.”

Passion is a word heard often from those who know Kiely.

“Her passion for our program and for us as people is something I have never seen in anyone I have ever met,” said junior goalkeeper Roxanne Love of her new coach. “She is someone that you want to play for. She is someone you want to work hard for.”

“Coach Kiely is passionate about the game, but she deeply cares about us as individuals,” agreed junior midfielder Jenna Nelson. “She embodies everything that Westmont soccer is. She has three national championships. She knows what it takes and she will get us one.”

“I believe it is Jack Welch that promulgated the ‘Four E and one P’ framework for hiring,” said Odell. “Coach Kiely has all four E’s: 1) She has positive Energy; the ability to get after it; to thrive on action and relish change.  2)  She has the ability to Energize others, and inspire them. 3) She has Edge; the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions, and 4) She can Execute; the ability to get it done. Most of all she has the final P – Passion. Passion for the game of soccer, passion for Westmont College and passion for the student-athletes she will lead.”

Asked about her goals for the women’s soccer program, Kiely replied, “Primarily it is three-fold: To grow strong spiritual leaders, to help cultivate an environment that promotes success in the classroom as a top priority and to have success on the playing field.”

After graduating from Westmont, Kiely played for nearly a year for Ornäs, a team based just outside of Stockholm, Sweden.

“It was an incredible opportunity to learn about the game in a different way,” said Kiely of the experience. “I took lots of notes while I was there.”

Offered a contract to play another year in Stockholm, Kiely turned it down in favor of another offer – a proposal of marriage to her now-husband Jeremiah.

The couple settled in the Bay Area where Kiely tried out with the California Storm of the Women’s Premier League (W-League).

“The team was filled with phenomenal athletes and coaches,” said Kiely. “Coach Albertin Montoya is a brilliant soccer mind and I feel blessed that I got to know how he runs things. The caliber of players was at the next level. It was what every young soccer girl watched and aspires to. For about five months I played along side Brandi Chastain, Sissi and Maureen Whitney.”

In the summer of 2008, Kiely returned to Westmont to begin serving on the Warrior coaching staff. This past summer she joined the coaching staff of Glendora FC of the W-League, serving on the staff of Twila Kaufman, Associate Head Coach at Pepperdine.

“Last summer was a great experience which stretched me in ways that prepared me for this position,” said Kiely. “Getting to work with players that were better than me was not only a treat, but also made me a better coach. It demanded more of me, challenged me and caused me to grow.”

As a student-athlete at Westmont, Kiely was known for her ability to make plays. She ranks third on the career assist list having tallied 30 in her four years as a Warrior. The mentality of enabling others is evident in her approach to the game and to coaching.

“When you are an assister, you work hard and you work hard for other people,” said Kiely. “The team knows that work ethic is a top priority for me. It can change the game. That is something I think I have demonstrated in my role as a coach. Stylistically, that is how I will encourage us to play. Can we get rid of the ball quickly? Can we serve one another?”

That’s not to say Kiely doesn’t appreciate a strikers determination to put the ball in the net.

“Do I want a goal scorer, or a few of them? Absolute,” assured the coach. “Do I want some people who think only they can score the goal? Absolutely. But the underlying theme is to serve and to work hard. Assisting can be a metaphor for doing those things.”

Asked what fans can look for in her future teams, Kiely replied, “Hopefully, you will see a team that works incredibly hard and loves each other. In one sentence, hopefully you will see a team that demands much of each other and loves each other in outrageous ways that can only speak of Christ.

“Hopefully you will see a team that is stronger academically. Hopefully you will see a team that is reaching out both internally to the Westmont community and externally to the greater Santa Barbara community and to our community of alums.

“With the foundation that has been laid by Dave Wolf and the whole coaching staff, hopefully you will see a team that is moving forward on the field to a higher level and more success in terms of wins.”