Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky Athletics Dept
E.A. Diddle Arena -1605 Avenue of Champions Bowling Green, KY 42101
Division 1 Kentucky Midwest
Public Large National competitor


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Jason Neidell

Jason Neidell, the only head coach in WKU women's soccer history, enters his 17th season at the helm of WKU's soccer program in 2017. Neidell has guided the Lady Toppers program since its inception in 2001 and continues to bring the program more recognition on the national stage.

In 2016, WKU enjoyed its finest season since joining Conference USA, posting a 12-6-1 record and finishing third overall in the conference standings. Freshman Chandler Backes became just the fifth player in program history with double-digit goals in one season, and the Lady Toppers surrendered just 13 goals in 19 matches, the second-fewest allowed in a single season in program history. After being selected eighth in the preseason coaches' poll, Neidell earned C-USA Coach of the Year accolades for piloting the Lady Toppers to their third-place finish.

WKU also set a new C-USA record during a six-week stretch during the 2016 season, earning six consecutive Player of the Week awards under Neidell's watch. That streak established a new record as the longest in conference history.

Fifteen of Neidell's 16 teams have recorded winning records. Of those 15 teams, 13 have won at least 10 matches. Neidell has led WKU to at least eight wins in 11 straight seasons, including Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship appearances in 2008, 2011 and 2013. WKU finished in the top half of conference standings (Sun Belt and Conference USA) during each of Neidell's first 14 seasons.

He guided the program to its first Sun Belt Conference regular season title in 2007 and led WKU to its second conference title during the 2013 season. Neidell was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year during each of his championship seasons. In the past nine seasons, Neidell's Lady Toppers reached the championship game of the conference tournament three times. In his 16 seasons, Neidell has led the Lady Toppers to a 180-101-34 record. The 2009 team set a school record for conference victories with nine and he led the 2008 squad to the most victories in program history, finishing 15-2-4.

In addition, 50 student-athletes have earned all-conference honors, with 22 named to the league's all-tournament team. Excelling in the classroom is also important to Neidell and the Lady Toppers, and 19 players have been named Academic All-District a total of 38 times, while he has had nine Conference USA All-Academic recipients in the past three seasons under his watch. WKU has had five Academic All-Americans under Neidell.

In 2009, the Lady Toppers set a school record with nine Sun Belt Conference wins and finished tied for second in the conference standings. WKU captured the University of Kentucky Tournament championship with a win over Marshall and a tie against Kentucky, and WKU earned major Sun Belt Conference wins over North Texas and Middle Tennessee. Neidell picked up his 100th career victory on October 4, 2009, at Troy, needing just 167 games to reach the milestone. Also in 2009, Kellie Walker set the new single-season and career assists records and was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, and six Lady Toppers were named to All-Sun Belt Conference teams.

Under Neidell's guidance the 2008 squad finished the season with a record of 15-2-4, the best record in school history. The Lady Toppers finished with a 7-1-3 mark in SBC play, good for third in the conference. Following the season, four players were named to the All-Sun Belt Conference First Team. Rachel Friedman and reigning SBC Player of the Year Morgan Thomas were recognized for their efforts on the defensive side of the ball, and Kellie Walker's offensive output earned her a spot on the team.

Freshman goalkeeper Libby Stout had one of the finest seasons in WKU soccer history in 2008. She was named the program's first-ever freshman All-American, as well as getting a nod on the All-SBC First Team. Stout was tremendous in goal for the Lady Toppers, allowing just nine goals the entire season. She recorded 14 shutouts in 20 matches on the season, which is a school and conference record. Her save percentage of 0.924 was second-highest in the nation, and her goals-against average of 0.426 was good for fourth-best in the country. Stout worked back-to-back shutout matches in the SBC Tournament to help the Lady Toppers reach the tournament finals for the first time in program history.

Neidell earned SBC Coach of the Year honors for leading the 2007 team to a SBC regular-season championship and a 14-3-3 overall record. Newcomers Mallory Outerbridge - the first international player for the Lady Toppers - and Amanda Buechel helped lead the squad to the top spot in the SBC. Outerbridge tied Kristin Cocchiarella for the team's lead in goals (8), while Buechel and Alicia Dalby each recorded hat-tricks on the year. Meredith Goodson led the league as the top goalkeeper, stopping 87 shots and allowing only 14 goals for a 0.73 goals-against average.

In 2001 Neidell was named the First-Year Program Coach of the Year by Soccer Buzz after WKU's 14-5 finish in its inaugural season. The 2002 squad produced the first all-Sun Belt picks in school history, as three players were named to the second team.

Neidell has made a name for himself on the international coaching scene, as well as in collegiate coaching. He piloted the United States open squad to a gold medal in the 2009 Maccabiah World Games in Israel. His team, which included former Lady Topper Catie Chase, defeated the host Israeli team 4-0 in the finals to earn the gold. In January 2004 he guided the United States junior national teams at the Pan American Maccabiah Games in Santiago, Chile, where his Under-17 club captured the gold medal and the Under-20 team brought home the silver. He also coached the junior national team in the 2005 World Maccabiah Games and the open national squad at the 2008 Maccabiah Games in Argentina.

A 1994 graduate of Yale, Neidell helped lead the Bulldogs to a NCAA Final Eight appearance and the New England and Ivy League titles in 1991. He was an Academic All-Ivy League selection in 1993 and won the school's Walter Leeman Award, presented to the student-athlete who best exemplifies leadership, sportsmanship and team play.

After graduation, Neidell played professionally for two seasons with the Tulsa Roughnecks of the United States Professional Soccer League, and one season with the Harrisburg Heat of the National Professional Soccer League. An injury with the Heat led him into the coaching ranks. From 1996-98 he served as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Tulsa. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Yale and a master's degree in Public Administration from WKU. He and his wife, Kara, were married on May 9, 2009, and welcomed their daughter Quinn to the world in February 2013.

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Dustin Downey

Dustin Downey enters his sixth year as an assistant coach with the WKU Soccer program in 2017 after aiding the Lady Toppers to a 52-31-14 record in the past five seasons.

In his fifth year with the program in 2016, the Lady Toppers notched 12 wins and finished third in Conference USA, the program's highest finish since joining the lead. Under Downey's tutelage, WKU scored 31 goals, the most in a single season since 2012. Freshman Chandler Backes exploded for 10 goals, just the fifth player in program history to record double-digit goals in a single season. In total, five WKU players earned All-C-USA honors in 2016, while head coach Jason Neidell was named the Coach of the Year.

Downey's one-on-one technical work with the Lady Toppers helped them win the 2013 Sun Belt Conference regular season title with a mark of 10-6-5, including a 6-2 clip in league play. Downey tutored a program record seven All-Sun Belt Conference selections in 2013, which was the second most in a single season in league history. Downey also helped guide WKU to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title match for the third time in program history.

During his first year as an assistant in 2012, Downey aided the Lady Toppers to a 12-5-3 record and a fourth-place finish in the league standings. His work helped Ali Stahlke win 2012 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors and Chrissy Tchoula earn First-Team All-SBC distinction.

Downey has an extensive playing background and most recently played for the River City Rovers (Louisville, Kentucky) of the Premier Development League, a team that qualified for the U.S. Open Cup. His efforts with the team helped earn him a professional tryout in Bosnia in January 2012.

His prior coaching appointments included work with the Lexington Football Club (Lexington, Kentucky) and East Jessamine High (Nicholasville, Ky.). He was also a constant around Neidell's Hilltopper Soccer Academy at WKU before being hired as an assistant. Downey played three years for the WKU Men's Soccer program from 2005-2007, including earning honorable mention All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a sophomore and preseason All-Conference honors as a junior. He scored six career goals while playing from the midfield. Following his three seasons with WKU, Downey played one year at Northern Kentucky University in 2008. The Norse finished 16-3-4 on the season and reached the NCAA Division II National Semifinals.

Downey enjoyed a successful prep career at Owen County High (Ky.) where he was a three time all-state selection. He notched 41 goals and 51 assists during his high school career, helping earn him NSCAA/adidas All-America honors in 2003. He was also a 2004 NSCAA/adidas High School Scholar All-American. He also had great success in the club ranks, playing for Javanon 86/87 in Louisville where he was a member of the 2006 national championship squad in the under-19 division. Downey graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2010 with a B.A. in broadcast communications and television production. He double minored in film study and english creative writing.

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Will Beddingfield

Will Beddingfield begins his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Lady Toppers in 2017 after serving as a volunteer assistant for WKU in the previous five seasons.

Beddingfield has worked primarily with goalkeepers during his time on the Hill and has led WKU to a 0.943 goals against average since 2009. WKU's goalkeepers have allowed just 145 goals in eight seasons with Beddingfield on the coaching staff. The Lady Toppers have surrendered less than 18 goals in five of Beddingfield's eight seasons on the Hill, including just 13 during their third-place C-USA finish in 2016. In WKU's 16-year history, five of the top seven seasons with the fewest goals allowed have come with Beddingfield at the helm of the goalkeepers.

Every primary goalkeeper under Beddingfield has earned All-Conference honors at one point in their career. Beddingfield was instrumental in the development of WKU's first professional player in program history, Libby Stout. Stout was a four-year starter for WKU, becoming the program's all-time leader in wins and minutes played during the 2011 season. She posted a 45-17-11 record in goal during her career while recording 39 shutouts for the Lady Toppers. Her 39 shutouts are the second-most in NCAA history. In 76 career matches played, Stout set WKU career records for wins, shutouts, goals against average in 0.68, and save percentage at .860. Stout became the first professional in WKU Soccer history when she signed with F.F. Yzeure Allier Auvergne in France in August 2012. Stout recently signed with the Boston Breakers in the NWSL in November 2015.

Beddingfield also played a major role in Nora Abolins' career, who became WKU's second player to sign a professional contract in 2016. She spent one season on The Hill in which she had 68 saves and allowed only 14 goals in the 2013 season. She had nine shutouts on the year, putting together a five-game stretch at one point. Abolins signed with QBIK Karlstad in February 2016. The club is in Sweden's second-highest division.

Current starting goalkeeper, Allison Leone, has started in every game for WKU in her three seasons. She has a total of 225 saves in her career, which is the third most in program history. She has a 0.99 GAA in her three seasons and 22 total solo shutouts, and Leone captured Second Team All-C-USA honors following the 2016 season.

Beddingfield also mentored WKU's 2012 goalkeeper, Nikki Hall, who earned second-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a freshman after allowing a .083 GAA and surrendering just six goals in 10 Sun Belt games.

Beddingfield arrived on The Hill on March 5, 2009 after spending two seasons at Big South Conference power High Point University as the first assistant, recruiting coordinator and goalkeeping coach. While with the Panthers, HPU experienced tremendous growth both on and off the field. In 2007, two of his keepers were recognized as all-conference and all-tournament, respectively. He has also trained several other all-conference performers on the field.

No stranger to collegiate soccer, Beddingfield brings 22 years of coaching experience, including head coaching stops at Carson-Newman College (Tenn.), Greensboro University (N.C.), Lenoir-Rhyne University (N.C.) and also a three-year stint with the Carolina Dynamo professional team as an assistant and goalkeeping coach.

Beddingfield served a seven-year tenure (2000-06) as the head coach for the Lenoir-Rhyne women's team, finishing his career as the winningest coach in the 16-year history of the program. He ranked second among active South Atlantic Conference coaches for wins when he left and also was the only Lenoir-Rhyne coach to lead the program to a pair of conference tournament finals. He produced 12 All-Conference honorees, two All-Region and two additional All-American nominees while guiding the Bears program.

Beddingfield is fully-licensed by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), with a Premier Diploma and a NSCAA Goalkeeping Diploma. Beddingfield resides in Bowling Green with his wife, JoAnna, and son, Ian.

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Dustin Downey

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