|Alma Mater:||Harvard University|
The ascent of the Saint Louis University women’s soccer program under the direction of head coach Katie Shields kicked into high gear in 2018.
After posting the second perfect league record (10-0-0) in program history to win the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season title, Saint Louis outscored its three opponents 11-2 to capture the A-10 Championship crown and the program’s third NCAA Championship bid. Shields was rewarded by being named A-10 Coach of the Year and recipient of the Carl O. Bauer Award, presented annually by the Missouri Athletic Club to the top amateur sports figure in the St. Louis area.
Now in her seventh season at the controls, Shields’ 69-40-10 Saint Louis record includes a 47-11-5 mark over the past three seasons. The 47 wins are the most of any three-year period in SLU women’s soccer history and the most in the A-10 from 2016-18. Shields’ Billikens have made SLU’s Robert R. Hermann Stadium one of the nation’s most difficult venues for visiting teams, going 26-1-4 on their home pitch – including 10-0-1 in 2018 – dating to the final home game of the 2015 season.
The 2018 Billikens set or tied school records in 13 categories – wins (18), regular-season wins (15), conference wins (10), longest winning streak (14), longest unbeaten streak (14), games (23), goals (52), points (144), shutouts (13), consecutive shutouts (six), consecutive shutout minutes (664:46), shots (444) and fewest shots allowed (123). The 14-game winning streak was the longest active winning streak in NCAA Division I women’s soccer when Saint Louis carried it into the NCAA Championship. In 13 games (including the conference tournament) against A-10 opponents, SLU allowed just five goals.
Alli Klug collected All-America plaudits (second team) for a second straight season and was one of a school-record four players (two first-team, two second-team) to garner All-Region recognition. SLU’s 10 All-Region selections from 2016-18 are the most of any three-year period in program history. Saint Louis matched the program mark it set in 2017 with six players (three first-team, three second-team) earning All-Conference accolades. Klug secured a second consecutive A-10 Defensive Player of the Year nod.
The 2017 Billikens set a program record for best regular-season winning percentage (.842), placed second (7-2-1) in the A-10 standings for a second consecutive season and finished with a 15-3-2 overall mark. In addition, SLU set a program standard for fewest goals allowed (10) and equaled the team record for shutouts (13).
Saint Louis also set a team mark for longest home undefeated streak (19) in 2017 when the Billikens blanked Massachusetts 3-0. One of the 19 games was a 1-1 draw vs. 19th-ranked Kansas, a match that drew a state of Missouri women’s college soccer record crowd of 5,205.
A team-record six players (three first-team, three second-team) earned All-Conference laurels in 2017, including Defensive Player of the Year Klug and Rookie of the Year Olivia Petit. First-team picks Klug, Petit and Mary Niehaus also were selected to the All-Region first team, marking the first time in program history that three players landed on the top unit. Klug went on to collect third-team All-America accolades.
Strong classroom performances were recognized as well. A team-record three players – Niehaus, Lauren Tondl and Alyssa Seitzer – made the A-10 All-Academic team.
Depth and balance are hallmarks of Saint Louis women’s soccer in Shields’ system. Eleven different Billikens combined to earn 18 A-10 weekly awards during the 2017 and 2018 campaigns, and SLU players garnered at least five awards in each category – Offensive, Defensive and Rookie. There were an astounding 27 different player combinations that accounted for the Bills’ 37 assisted goals in 2018, following 24 unique combinations on 33 assisted tallies in 2017. Fifteen different players notched at least one goal or one assist in 2018, one more than the 14 in the previous season.
The 2016 Billikens were 14-4-2 overall and 7-1-2 in conference play. SLU shared the A-10 lead with nine shutouts and ranked second in the league with a 0.82 GAA. Individual honors were plentiful for Shields’ squad as five student-athletes were selected to the All-Conference first and second teams combined, including Defensive Player of the Year Kacey Bright. Niehaus and Danielle Tolmais joined Bright on the All-Region list.
Shields directed one of the A-10’s toughest defensive units in 2015. The Billikens posted a 1.07 goals against average in all games and a 0.95 GAA in 10 conference contests. In fact, only one A-10 opponent scored more than one goal against Saint Louis.
The 2014 Billikens won eight games, an increase of two victories over the previous season. Shields’ squad was highly competitive against the A-10’s best, falling by just one goal to NCAA Championship qualifiers Dayton (overtime) and La Salle. The SLU offense also was more prolific under Shields’ guidance; the Billikens tallied 31 goals and 31 assists, significant increases over their 2013 totals of 19 goals and 15 assists.
In her first season at the controls, Shields led Saint Louis to a second-place tie in the 2013 A-10 regular-season standings, an improvement of 10 spots from the previous year. The Billikens, who were 5-2-1 in conference play, qualified for the A-10 Championship for the first time since 2009. In addition, four players earned A-10 postseason accolades, the most since 2009.
Shields, who served as a Billiken assistant coach in 2012, was named the third head coach in program history on Jan. 15, 2013.
Prior to her arrival at SLU, Shields spent two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Northwestern. She served three years in the same capacities at her alma mater, Harvard, where she worked with head coach Ray Leone (now head coach at Maryland) and assistant coach Tracey Leone, who went on to serve six seasons as head coach at Northeastern. Shields began her coaching career with a one-year stint as an assistant at UC Irvine under head coach April Heinrichs, who recently completed an eight-year stint as Technical Director for the U.S. Women's National Teams.
In addition to her collegiate coaching experience, Shields is an assistant with the U.S. Youth National Teams staff at various training camps and international competitions. She also serves as the liaison for the state of Missouri’s U.S. Soccer Training Center. Additionally, Shields was assistant goalkeeping coach for the Boston Breakers of Women's Professional Soccer under head coach Tony DiCicco in 2009; head coach of the Boston Bolts F.C. girls’ youth clubs for two years; and camp director/senior staff member of Soccerplus Goalkeeper School from 2006-11.
“During our search for a head coach, we engaged in exhaustive communication with National Team coaches, U.S. Soccer officials and NCAA College Cup coaches,” SLU director of athletics Chris May said at the time of Shields’ hiring. “They were unanimous in their support of Katie Shields as a leader who was ready to be a successful head coach.
“Katie is passionate about soccer and is committed to our department goals of educating student-athletes, competing at the highest level and building community,” May said. “We are confident she will develop a championship program by building trust, demonstrating a commitment to excellence and showing she cares about her student-athletes.”
“I am thrilled and honored to be the head women's soccer coach at Saint Louis University,” Shields said upon her hiring. “I am grateful to (vice president for student development) Dr. Kent Porterfield, Chris May and (senior associate director of athletics) Janet Oberle for believing in me and my vision to lead the SLU women’s soccer program.
“Saint Louis University offers a unique combination of academic prestige, top-notch athletic facilities and a wealth of local soccer tradition, providing a world-class experience for our student-athletes.”
Shields helped guide Harvard to the Ivy League title and an NCAA Championship berth in 2008 and 2009. She coached two Ivy League Rookies of the Year, 16 All-Conference selections and six All-Region choices.
A goalkeeper, Shields enjoyed a distinguished playing career (2002-05) at Harvard. She garnered All-Ivy accolades all four seasons and was an All-Region honoree and team captain her senior campaign. Shields ranked fourth nationally in save percentage in 2005, set a school record for shutouts in a season and helped lead the 2004 Crimson to the NCAA Championship.
Shields is a 2006 graduate of Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government.