H.E.R. Coaching Scholarship Spotlight | Keeley Leising

RICHMOND, VA (May 25, 2017) – As part of the Amazing Young WomenTM campaign, the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) developed the H.E.R. Coaching Scholarship Program to encourage top female players to enter the coaching profession, and to help the next generation of coaches and leaders continue to raise the bar in youth soccer. The ECNL selected the first scholarship recipients in 2015, and has continued the successful program for three years.

The 2017 scholarship recipients included twelve women from across the country that were chosen from a deep pool of talented applicants to continue their coaching development and receive a scholarship to pursue a USSF “D” or “E” coaching license. The ECNL launched this program specifically for ECNL Alumni and aspiring female coaches.

Keeley Leising is a student-athlete at Winthrop University majoring in exercise science and minoring in coaching. She currently is the director of girls’ development with Ciornei Goalkeeping Academy where she works mainly with players on their tactical and technical skills as well as running her own sessions. Leising is an ECNL Alum, who played for Ohio Premier in her youth career from 2014 to 2016 before continuing her soccer career at Winthrop University. She recently completed the USSF “E” coaching course and will begin working towards acquiring her USSF “E” coaching license this summer.

“After becoming a part of the ECNL I realized I aspired to give back to the game that has given so much to me and pursue a career in coaching,” Leising said about aspiring to be a soccer coach. “I would love nothing more than to share my passion and love for the game with others. The idea to me of being a part of something bigger than yourself, where the team comes before the individual, is just so inspiring.”

The ECNL caught up with Leising to learn more about her aspirations and some fun get-to-know questions.

Why do you want to transition into the coaching world?
For me being a coach isn’t just about the results on the field, it’s about what you can do for them off the field too. How you can be there for your players as a friend, role model, and a mentor is just as important as how you can coach them to a win. I’ve been blessed with many great coaches in my time as a player. Coaches who made me a great player but an even better person. The reason I want to be a college coach though is because I love the idea of being able to build your own legacy as a coach. Being able to travel to watch great soccer and meet other great coaches, play in amazing facilities, and watch your players grow as students and players. Soccer has always been a very large and important part of my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want to turn my passion for the game into a talent and a career for myself. For me it has never been about the money, coaching isn’t the most glamorous job out there and I know that, but there’s nothing more I’d rather do than wake up every day loving what I do, and doing it for the rest of my life.

What are your coaching aspirations and goals?
After college, I plan on going to graduate school and becoming a graduate assistant coach at whatever university or college I decide I would like to do my post graduate work at. While I know I will have to start out with a smaller coaching job, my end goal is to become a collegiate soccer coach. I’ve known I wanted to be a soccer coach since I first started playing soccer at a higher level in the ECNL during my sophomore year of high school.  

How has the ECNL influenced you along your journey?
The ECNL had and still has a very large impact on my soccer career, my love for the game, and my aspirations to pursue a coaching career. Without the ECNL I believe it would have taken me longer to develop the skill set and soccer IQ that I have now and because of that my dreams of playing division I collegiate soccer may not have become a reality for me. It wasn’t until I started going to ECNL events and games that college coaches began looking at me seriously and making me offers. Not only did the ECNL give me a platform to play soccer in college but it also gave me the opportunity to make so many new connections and friendships with players from across the country. Some of them were even recently drafted to play in the NWSL, so the ECNL has done a lot more for me than just develop my skills as a player it goes farther than just the surface. The experience was life changing and I have and will continue to recommend it to any player looking to play at the next level.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself graduated from college with a degree in exercise science and a minor in coaching, hopefully starting my career as a coach somewhere!

Define “Success”:
For me, I think success is using your talents to contribute something to society and the world, having a positive impact on yourself and everyone around you. If you do this no matter what it is you will be successful because you love what you are doing.

What is one thing most people do not know about you?
I love being outdoors, some of my favorite activities are fishing, backpacking, hiking, and camping. Someday I want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles)

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If I could go anywhere I would probably go to Palawan, Philippines because of the beautiful scenery, diverse culture, and unique wildlife! 

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
If I could tell my 12-year-old self one thing, it would be to spend more time with your family. They love you so much and it will be so hard for them when you move 8.5 hours away for school and they don’t get to see you every day. Cherish every moment you get to spend with them, help them out in any way you can and call them often, they love to hear your voice and how you’re doing. You wouldn’t be where you are today without them, they made an enormous amount f sacrifices for you. Don’t take that for granted.

What is your guilty pleasure?
110% ice cream. Anywhere, and anytime, is the best time for ice cream.

Who is your favorite person/organization to follow on Twitter?
Soccer Girl Probs for sure, their account is so funny and relatable. I have a t-shirt and everything, they are empowering women who teach young girls the power and struggle of being a female athlete.

Keeley, thank you for sharing your story and following your dreams. You are an Amazing Young Woman, and we look forward to following you as you continue along your coaching path and help pave the way for future H.E.R. Coaching Scholarship recipients.


About Amazing Young WomenTM:  Launched by the ECNL, the Amazing Young Women is a dynamic platform of online and local market activations that showcase and celebrate female role models offering an aspirational focus for all female athletes and teens as they prepare to be our next generation of leaders.  The ECNL is calling on all of the nation’s women to join the movement to celebrate the endless potential of today’s girls.

Women of all ages can share their personal moments of inspiration through social media and at www.AmazingYoungWomen.com.  Every share and submission helps drive a movement that celebrates the power of what it is to be a girl today.

Amazing Young Women of the ECNL will be showcased at AmazingYoungWomen.com. Through testimonials, tips and tools, the website is providing all girls to view, share, and celebrate what it is to be motivated, strong, and successful.

About Elite Clubs National League:  The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through: (i) improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and (iii) improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs. The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.

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