Bright Horizons for UND Women’s Soccer

Madison Overby, Staff Writer

The University of North Dakota women’s soccer team is four games into the regular season and have already tied their amount of wins for the entire 2016 season. They are currently sitting at .500 with two wins and two losses.

The season started off strong with back-to-back wins in Fargo against NDSU (1-0) and here at home against Western Illinois (4-0). The last time UND beat NDSU in soccer was four years ago during the 2013 season. The soccer team’s recent successes and projected future success could be largely attributed to the new coaching staff of 2017.

After winning only nine games during a four year coaching stint at UND, the previous head coach of women’s soccer, Matt Kellogg, did not have his contract renewed following the 2016 season.

Instead, the University found Chris Logan, who was coming off a successful year as head coach at the University of Northern Iowa in 2016. With Logan’s leadership, UNI achieved the program’s best record in 13 years. Logan was also an NAIA All-American goalkeeper at Notre Dame College in Ohio, from 2002-2006.

When the position at UND became available, Logan decided to apply because he had been a fan of UND athletics for quite some time and his family frequently attended hockey games at Ralph Engelstad Arena. 

Some of the soccer team was able to give their input on the hiring process. The team and administration ended up coming to the decision that Logan’s ideas were exactly what they needed to lift themselves out of the rut and get the team back on track.

Logan is joined by associate head coach Chris Citowicki, part-time goalkeeper coach Danielle Mendez and volunteer coach Damian Macias. The entire staff came onboard ready to make the adjustments that the program was looking for.

When Logan came in, the lack of competitive success was only one of the things he wanted to focus on.

“(Coming in) we knew things had to change,” sophomore forward Karleen Yapello said.

The new coaching staff went to work right away implementing a strong, positive mindset on and off the field. The biggest change to the team has been attitude, which is making a huge difference. They are happy to be at practice, have better chemistry and better expectations.

“Making sure the environment is one that allows people to flourish is a good starting point to allowing the program to progress and become more competitive,” Logan said. “We want our athletes to love the game of soccer. I believe that when you are passionate about something it brings out the best in you.”

The impact of the environment shift was evident when the soccer team won their first two spring games 5-0 following the coaching change.

Yapello and Riley Koberinski, junior forward, believe there is much more to come from the soccer team this year and in the future.

The main goal of the team now comes down to two key words: belief and passion. Yapello, Koberinski and Logan all spoke about how when the team is able to believe in themselves, they find success.

Across the board, from players to coaches, it is easy to see that Logan is bringing about a new outlook to UND women’s soccer. As mentioned previously, this has already helped the team to as many wins as they had all of last season, with many more sure to be on deck.

“His positive attitude makes him stand out,” Koberinski said. “He really cares for each and every one of his players and wants them to succeed in all areas of life.”

Madison Overby is a staff writer for Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]