Aug. 1, 2011
University of Minnesota head soccer coach Mikki Denney Wright is pleased to announce the return of Golden Gopher alum Kelsey Hood, who will serve as a volunteer assistant coach this fall. Hood returns to Minnesota after being as a force in the midfield for Denney Wright from 2005-08 and as a volunteer coach during the 2009 season.
"Since graduating, I have always wanted to come back and help out because Minnesota has an amazing soccer program," said Kelsey Hood. "Also, with being a former Gopher, I have roots there, and the Gopher Family is something I will always be apart of."
Hood is considered one of the all-time greats to wear the maroon and gold as she earned All-America honors as a senior and was named Big Ten Defensive MVP after leading a resurgent Golden Gopher defense in 2008 that ranked among the best in the nation. The Ankeny, Iowa native served as the focal point in Coach Denney Wright's defense that set a new Big Ten record for posting 17 shutouts during the 2008 campaign. Along with breaking the conference record, the Golden Gophers won the regular season Big Ten Championship and reached the NCAA Tournament where they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history.
"We are thrilled to add Kelsey to our coaching staff," said Denney Wright. "Our goal is to always provide the best possible developmental environment for our players, and Kelsey will make a great impact on the growth of our team. She has a great ability to develop relationships and connect to young women. Kelsey is able to hold players to the highest standard because she has been in the trenches and has proven she is the ultimate competitor."
Since graduating from Minnesota, Hood has traveled throughout the United States and Europe playing professionally. In 2009, Hood played for the Minnesota Lighting until the team disbanded from the United Soccer Leagues W-League following the conclusion of the 2009 campaign. In 2010, she took her talents to Norway to play for FK Donn who plays in the Toppserien, which is considered the highest-level league in the country. Following her stint abroad, Hood joined the Vancouver Whitecaps FC this past spring and serves as the team's captain. Her leadership and experience on the field has assisted the 'Caps in reaching the W-League Championship 'Final Four' for the seventh time in team history. For her efforts this season, Hood was voted as a co-recipient of the 'Caps Most Valuable Player Award and also named to the All-Western Conference Team.
"The players respect Kelsey because of what she has accomplished on the field and her experiences playing professionally can provide a great model for them in following their own dreams," Denney Wright said. One of the greatest joys for me as a coach is having our players return and give back to our program."
The Golden Gophers will welcome back Hood on August 2 when the team reports for the first day of preseason training.
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