By: Jared Capozza
The Seton LaSalle boys’ soccer program has been a decorated one, filled with countless section, WPIAL, and most impressively PIAA championships. In fact, when it comes to winning, no team is better at it in the school than the boys’ team. Since 2002, they have won 12 section championships, 6 WPIAL championships, and 2 PIAA championships. Over that time they amassed a record of 262-53-11 and were consistently ranked at the top in Class A.
Many have been a part of the program over that time, but none have been as involved and as integral, as current head soccer coach Ryan Kelly. Kelly is an alumnus of Seton LaSalle, graduating in 2003. After college, he returned to the program as an assistant coach, serving in that role in 2007, 2008, and 2011. Then, in 2013, Kelly finally took over for Mike Thomas and became the head coach of the boys’ soccer team. He has been a part of a large amount of success in the program. I sat down with him to learn what led him to his success with the program and how he plans to continue that into the future.
Q: What do you think has made you a successful head coach over your four years so far at Seton?
A: We’ve been lucky enough to have some very good teams come through Seton. When the players are focused and driven, it makes a coach’s job much easier.
Q: What is your philosophy for motivating your players?
A: It changes based on the personalities of the team. But mainly, we always want the guys to be challenging themselves at all times in an effort to be the best players they can be.
Q: What motivated you to first get into coaching?
A: I have been involved in soccer since I was 3 years old, and I have really enjoyed the game over my lifetime. It has taught me a lot on and off the field. Over my years, I have had some coaches that inspired me to become involved with coaching soccer.
Q: Also, what made you want to come back to Seton to coach? Why Seton and not somewhere else?
A: Seton is where my friends and I sort of started this whole string of success. I owe a lot to my experience and relationships gained at Seton, and if I can help facilitate that for future classes to come, that will strengthen the bond all players have that have put on this uniform. I want to help any and all players reach their maximum effort to show how far the program has come since I was a player.
Q: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
A: Three more boxes to check for 2016: WPIAL Champion, PIAA Tournament Qualifier, PIAA Champion (25-1-0 final record)
Q: Where do you see yourself as a coach in five years?
A: Likely still in the same role at Seton LaSalle
Q: What accolades have you gotten while as a coach?
A: We have won section championships in all four seasons, made the WPIAL playoffs all 4 also. We won a WPIAL Championship in 2015. Personally, as head coach, I was named Section coach of the year in 2013 & 2015, and I was named WPIAL coach of the year in 2015.
Q: Where else have you coached soccer?
A: I was an assistant at Seton in 2007, 2008 and 2011. Section champions all 3 years, PIAA champs in 2008, WPIAL champs in 2008 & 2011, and WPIAL runner-up in 2007. I have coached at Century V for over 6 years, ODP for a few years, and I have assisted at Mt. Lebo (2012) and Carlynton (2009-2010).
Q: What’s it like for you having your brother coaching here as well with the football team? Is there any sibling rivlary?
A: It’s pretty cool to walk on the field and he’s walking off. There is no real rivalry, we’re far enough apart in age where that never really comes up. We want each other to succeed.
Since assuming the role of head coach in ‘13, Kelly has produced nothing but successful teams. In the four years so far, he has amassed a record of 63-19-2, has won four section titles, a WPIAL title, and has led his team as far as the state quarterfinals. His passion and knowledge of the game, doubled with his love for the school as an alumni is unlike any other, and no one is more fit for the position than him.