Getting to know Texas Soccer assistant coach Keeley Dowling
Jan. 13, 2012
How did you make the transition from playing to coaching? Beginning in the spring of 2005, I started playing professionally in Sweden, and I did that for two years. Knoxville has always been my home base because it's so easy to train in the facilities and all that. I was actually working at a bagel shop, just this side job early in the morning so I could train in the afternoon, and one of the Tennessee assistants went on maternity leave and decided she just wanted to stay a full-time mom, so (then Tennessee head coach) Angela (Kelly) said she wanted to hire me. I was still allowed to play in the WPS (Women's Professional Soccer) season March to August.
Why did you think coaching was something you wanted to do? My undergraduate degree is in exercise science, so I am very interested in what the body does when you train it, stress it. But I never really thought I would coach because I was so enthralled with playing, and I had goals for that. Certainly, though, I had dabbled a bit with club coaching, but the opportunity presented itself, and Ange's personality is contagious. She does everything the right way. To work for somebody like that is easy.
What was it like to play for Coach Kelly? Well, she won four national championships (as a player at North Carolina). She knows what it takes to win, and I believed that she could get me to the next level. I wanted to be one of those athletes who built something, instead of coming to a program that already was there. And we did that, we put Tennessee women's soccer on the map. I wanted to be part of something that was going to be big, instead of it was already big.
How do you relate to today's student-athlete? Everybody is different, everyone is unique. Just being patient and understanding where everybody comes from is important. At the end of the day, the standard that we have is not going to change. It's going to be extremely high, and because we have such a high standard, you are going to be successful. Ultimately it's about creating a competitive environment day in and day out. If you can outwork your opponent, you are going to be successful. Coaches are here to give players the tools to do that. It's been extremely enjoyable to see the positive impact you can have on these student-athletes. It's a lot of fun.