After an illustrious playing career and a ten-year stint at Quickstrike FC, Brittany Kolmel has taken the Marist women’s soccer head coaching job. Kolmel was drawn to the program’s great reputation and the beautiful campus. She is a native of nearby Campbell Hall, NY, and has recently started a family with her husband.
“I’ve always aspired to be able to take my coaching career as far as I could be able to go,” Kolmel said. “It was great timing, and when the position opened up, I thought it would be a great time for myself and my career.”
Kolmel brings a high level of experience to the Marist program. She was a four-year starter at the University of Connecticut, played eight years in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) — becoming the third player to reach 100 caps in the league in 2017 — and was a member of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) from 2010-2011, serving as an alternate in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
During her ten years as program director and head coach at Quickstrike FC, Kolmel oversaw the development of over 400 athletes and guided teams to championships at major showcases such as the Jefferson Cup, Disney Showcase, and PDA Showcase.
“I’ve been able to play for many different coaches, and taking little bits and pieces away from each experience helped me to be the coach that I am,” Kolmel said. One coach that had an impact on Kolmel was Vlatko Andonovski at FC Kansas City. Andonovski, currently the USWNT head coach, showed a passion for the game that Kolmel hopes to bring to the Marist program.
“Taking that passion from him and being able to take that and apply it into our program as well as just the connection he has with his players,” she said.
Kolmel believes her playing career will allow her to relate to her players and can be a benefit for her. “I know the demands of what it takes to be a Division 1 athlete,” she said.
Kolmel will be inheriting a roster that is primarily comprised of upperclassmen, who did a great job during the period where there was a vacancy in the head coach position. Kolmel highlights senior defender and midfielder Nicole Sasso in particular for her leadership during the offseason transition.
“She’s been great and a big part of taking that leadership role with no coach,” Kolmel said. “It’s important that everybody can have a leadership role, it makes my transition and my staff’s transition really easy.”
Entering her first season as head coach, Kolmel looked to build a strong culture to help elevate the reputation of the program. During the offseason, she was able to bond with her players through team activities. Everyone attended the activities, which was a welcoming sight for the new head coach.
“We held opportunities for all of us to be together to talk and think about soccer, and it was really cool to see everyone wanting to take part in it,” Kolmel said.
The offseason programs allowed Kolmel to learn from her players during the pandemic. They faced challenges every day, forcing them to overcome adversity, which Kolmel believes is a key aspect of the culture they are building.
“The culture that we are creating is we have to be able to get after it no matter what, and we can’t make excuses on it,” Kolmel said.
After starting the season with a 3-1 defeat to Quinnipiac on March 9, the team was placed on pause due to COVID-19. As Marist College continued to extend its pause, the season was subsequently canceled. Kolmel’s squad will have to wait until next season to get back on the field. But she’ll keep them ready.
“We have to be prepared as soon as that green light comes so that we’re ready to get back on the field and start competing again,” Kolmel said.
Edited by Sam DiGiovanni & Bridget Reilly
Photo Credit: Marist Athletics