Whitman-Hanson Regional High grad Marina Kelly is an assistant women’s soccer coach at one of the winningest programs in the country.
Marina Kelly’s goal is to become a head college soccer coach some day.
It would appear that she’s well on her way.
Kelly, a 2014 Whitman-Hanson Regional High grad, was hired by the University of Scranton as an assistant women’s soccer coach this past fall.
The school went on to finish the season 18-1-1, won the Landmark Conference title and advanced the Div. III Sweet 16.
The Scranton staff was tabbed the United Soccer Coaches 2021 Coaching Staff of the Year for Region V as well as the Landmark Conference Staff of the Year.
“My experience at Scranton has been awesome,” Kelly said. “I work with a great coaching staff and an awesome group of student-athletes here.
“It was a lot of long days in the office and on the field but it was worth it and great to see us accomplish so much in one season as a program.”
Kelly is directly involved in recruiting, film analysis, team travel and on-the-field coaching.
“Marina is extremely hard working, competitive and a quick learner,” said Scranton women’s soccer head coach Colleen Pivirotto. “Marina took the lead in watching and scouting our opponents.”
That was a crucial role, especially during the rigorous NCAA tournament schedule.
“We had to prepare for three teams at once,” Pivirotto said. “Marina’s hard work allowed us to be prepared for all our opponents and key to helping us to advance to the Sweet 16.”
Kelly, who played both basketball and soccer in college, began her coaching career in 2017 while attending Clarion University when she was named the head coach of the Clarion River Valley Strikers, a competitive club soccer team. She continued to coach club when she returned home while also personally training players. In 2018 she was named girls’ soccer’s head junior varsity coach. Later that winter she was hired by her alma mater, W-H, as a varsity girls’ basketball assistant and head junior varsity coach, a post she held for three seasons. For the last two autumns she has worked as a graduate assistant women’s soccer coach at Regis College. An impressive résumé for sure, which made her an attractive candidate for Pivirotto to add to her bench.
“Marina’s previous coaching experience allowed her to hit the ground running since she started in early August,” Pivirotto said. “I am fortunate that Marina had a lot of experience prior to arriving at Scranton. I did not have an assistant coach for over a year so it was a tremendous help to have Marina join our staff.”
Kelly said she has soaked in a great deal of knowledge during her first year in Scranton.
“I have learned a lot about soccer, coaching in general, and even about myself,” Kelly said. “Looking at film differently, focusing on specific tactics, working more with a specific position group for a period of time during practice, [and] how to communicate effectively with the girls at this level to get a positive response from them,” Kelly said. “Overall, I have learned a lot from my head coach Colleen Pivirotto on being a young female coach in the coaching world.”
Kelly attended the United Soccer Coaches convention in Kansas City, Mo., last month. The rest of her offseason will feature recruiting, hosting clinics on campus and analyzing film before the non-traditional season gets going in the spring.
“My goal right now is continuing to learn and grow as much as I can as a coach and a mentor to student-athletes,” Kelly said. “I love coaching at the college level and I plan to stay at this level. My overall goal is to be a head college coach of my own program some day.”