Bill Kelly | Head Coach | Women’s Soccer | Bard College

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

First of all, Bard is a top academic institution, so I first look for a fantastic student who is also a talented soccer player. The student-athlete I want to work with is passionate about learning, and prioritizes academics. At the same time, I want a soccer “nut” who is willing to commit the time and dedicate herself to being a competitive college soccer player for my program–as we play in a league with several nationally ranked teams. Specifically in terms of soccer, I am seeking a player with great first touch; excellent fitness; good speed; great vision; and a high “Soccer IQ.” I can also tell you what don’t want–I don’t want a diva, or someone who thinks they are a star. Our team culture is positive and team-oriented, so we welcome team-first players who want to have fun in a supportive, achievement-oriented environment.

Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

We just had Senior Recognition Day for a senior who went above and beyond all my expectations. When I recruited her from Londonderry, NH, I knew she was a talented player–but her dedication to Bard Soccer for four years was more than I could have imagined. She helped me in recruiting by being a kind and gracious host to prospective players; she was a bright and positive leader who represented our program as a representative to SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Council); she was a 3-year captain (I made her captain as a sophomore) and was a terrific role model to all the young players; she was a top notch student, earning Scholar-Athlete Awards every year she played; and she was also recognized as Player of the Year in our conference. She achieved all that while remaining humble, and also, for the past two years, she has been dealing with her mom’s tough battle with cancer. I just can’t say enough about how special this player is–as an athlete, an inspiration, a leader, and a wonderful human being. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity and pleasure to work with her. She made everyone around her better, including me.