Jessica Celi has been named the sixth head women's soccer coach in the history of the program.
Liberty University Director of Athletics Jeff Barber announced that Charlotte Lady Eagles Assistant Coach Jessica Celi has been named the sixth head women's soccer coach in the 21-year history of the Lady Flames' soccer program, Wednesday afternoon. "We are thrilled to have Jessica Celi join the Liberty University athletics program," stated Barber. "She has proven herself to be an outstanding coach and recruiter and will be a tremendous leader for our women's soccer program." Celi is in her third season with the Lady Eagles of the United States (USL) W-League, the premier women's soccer league in the United States, as an assistant to head coach Lee Horton. With the club, Celi has been responsible for recruiting players for the team, implementing training sessions, running camps and clinics and coaching, training and teaching sports ministry both in the United States and in Brazil. "By God's grace, it is a pleasure and an honor to join the Liberty family and serve as the head women's soccer coach," stated Celi. "The capabilities of those who have led the program are evident and I am both humbled and blessed to become part of it." This season, Celi has helped the Lady Eagles to second place in the Atlantic Division standings with an 8-1-1 mark. The squad's roster includes former Liberty standout Sonia Rodriguez, who was a Lady Flame from 2001-05, while current Liberty players Ashley Braam, Lauren Kamphuis and Heather Bowling are training with the team. "Jess has a great vision for the Liberty Women's Soccer Program," stated Rodriguez, the 2005 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award winner, Liberty's highest athletics honor. "I'm excited to see where she is going to take them. She will be a great role model and mentor for the student-athletes." In her three years with Charlotte, she has helped guide the Lady Eagles to a 29-7-2 record. During her first season with the Lady Eagles, Charlotte fell one game short of playing for the league title, losing in the 2006 W-League's semifinals. The year prior, Celi was the head coach of the W-League's Carolina Dynamo. Celi also has coached internationally. While serving as a missionary in Brazil, she was the co-head coach of the Cotia Women's Professional Soccer team based in Sao Paulo in 2007. The team played both outdoors and futsal. From 2004-06, Celi was an assistant coach under Todd Bramble at Clemson. Each of her seasons with the Lady Tigers, Clemson received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Celi began her coaching career at Delaware in 2001, serving as an assistant until 2003, when she became an assistant at Creighton for one season. "Jess is a great fit for Liberty University," stated Duke Head Women's Soccer Coach Robbie Church. "She will represent the school well and she will have a strong women's soccer program on and off the field. This is a home run for Liberty." "I'm excited for the future of Liberty University women's soccer because they have hired a strong female role model who is going to lead them to the next level of NCAA competition," added South Florida Head Women's Soccer Coach Denise Schilte–Brown. Celi has been both a staff coach and state coach in the Olympic Development Program (ODP). She was a coach with the New Jersey ODP Under-17 Girls State team from 2002-03 and was both a staff and state coach with the Nebraska state program from 2003-04. During her time with the Nebraska program, she was a staff coach with the Region II ODP, identifying top youth players from within 12-state region and coached the Nebraska ODP U-17 Girls state team. Celi graduated cum laude from N.C. State with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1999. She also received a master's degree in educational leadership at Delaware in 2003. A four-year letterwinner in the collegiate ranks, Celi played two years in the midfield at Ohio State (1995-96) and N.C. State (97-98). She was a three-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America Scholar-Athlete from 1995-97 and earned Academic All-ACC honors in 1998. Celi's Coaching Career 2000-03 Assistant Coach - Delaware 2002-03 State Coach - New Jersey ODP U-17 Girls 2003-04 Assistant Coach - Creighton State Coach - Nebraska ODP U-17 Girls Staff Coach - Region II ODP 2004-06 Assistant Coach - Clemson 2005 Head Coach - Carolina Dynamo (USL W-League) 2006-Present Assistant Coach- Charlotte Eagles (USL W-League) 2007 Co-Head Coach - Cotia Women's Professional
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