ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis University director of athletics Chris May has announced that assistant women's soccer coach Katie Shields has been named head coach. Shields, who came to Saint Louis last March, succeeds Kat Mertz, who accepted the head-coaching position at Oregon following one season with the Billikens.
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 and assistant coach Tracey Leone, now the 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 now is Technical Director for the U.S. Women's National Teams.
"During our search, we engaged in exhaustive communication with National Team coaches, U.S. Soccer officials and NCAA College Cup coaches," May said. "They were unanimous in their support of Katie Shields as a leader who is 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. "I am grateful to (vice president for student development) Dr. Kent Porterfield, Chris May, and (associate director of athletics) Janet Oberle for believing in me and my vision to lead the SLU women's soccer program.
"Under the leadership of our President, Father Biondi, 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.
"Over the past year, we have made great progress in changing the competitive culture of the program, and I look forward to continuing to build SLU women's soccer back into a championship-level program," Shields said. "The commitment of the current players and strong recruiting prospects promise a bright future for our program in the classroom, on the field, and in the community."
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 National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Region choices.
In addition to her collegiate coaching experience, Shields served as 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.
A goalkeeper, Shields enjoyed a distinguished playing career (2002-05) at Harvard. She garnered All-Ivy accolades all four seasons and was an NSCAA 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. She is pursuing a master's degree in sports administration at Northwestern.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT KATIE SHIELDS
"Katie is a bright mind in the game and has a wonderful future. She has constantly shown the ability to work hard and inspire her players to be the best they can be. Saint Louis made a great decision in having Katie land her first head-coaching job." - Erica Walsh, head women's soccer coach, Penn State University
"Katie Shields has distinguished herself as a master recruiter and one of America's finest young, talented coaches. No one will be surprised as Katie develops SLU into a program of national significance. She is known for integrity, a tireless work ethic and a wonderful soccer pedigree. Congratulations to Katie and to Saint Louis University." - Tony DiCicco, USA National Team Coach '96 Olympic Gold; '99 World Cup Championship; '08 U20 World Cup Championship
"Katie Shields is an incredible hire for Saint Louis University. She has great insight into the game and has the ability to recruit top talent and develop strong relationships with players. She is a great leader and great worker who is more than ready for a Division I head-coaching position. Katie is a tremendous human being, tremendous coach and tremendous recruiter who is the best choice for Saint Louis." - Tracey Leone, head women's soccer coach, Northeastern University
"Katie Shields is one of the brightest young coaches in America. From the moment you meet her to the moment she starts the training session, you feel her deep passion for the great game. She demonstrates with impeccable skill, she progressively builds, and she brings the best out of all the players. Players love training and playing for Katie. She will build Saint Louis University women's soccer into a nationally competitive program. She also is one of the finest role models in women's soccer." - April Heinrichs, Technical Director, U.S. Women's National Teams"I commend Saint Louis University for tabbing Katie Shields as its next head coach. Katie was instrumental in helping Harvard win two Ivy League titles. I know she will bring the same level of commitment and expertise to the Billikens that she brought to the Crimson as a player and coach. This is a great hire." - Ray Leone, head women's soccer coach, Harvard University