PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s new head women’s soccer coach, Nicole Van Dyke, has announced the hiring of Melissa Phillips as an assistant coach.
The move to Penn represents a reunion for Van Dyke and Phillips. Van Dyke initially recruited Phillips to play for her at Cal State Stanislaus, and then hired Phillips as an assistant coach when she was head coach at Cal State Bakersfield. When Van Dyke moved on to Stanford after the 2010 season, Phillips replaced her as the Roadrunners’ head coach.
“Melissa is an excellent coach and I couldn’t be happier about her joining the staff,” said Van Dyke. “She is a great role model, has an incredible work ethic, and brings tons of energy and passion to this program. She will be an integral part of the future success of Penn Women’s soccer.”
“I am honored to become a part of such a prestigious University,” said Phillips. “Penn truly has it all, the opportunity for success both academically and athletically at the highest levels. Combining this with the chance to work for my longtime friend and mentor, Nicole, is beyond exciting to me as I feel she is one of the best minds in college soccer. I have so much respect for her ability to teach and motivate, and I look forward to contributing to her mission for this program.”
Phillips was Cal State Bakersfield’s head coach from 2011-13, and was the youngest head coach at the NCAA Division I level during that time. In 2012, her second season as head coach, Phillips guided the Roadrunners to six wins, still the most in the program’s Division I history. In 2013, Phillips coached the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Freshman of the Year in Hedda Regefalk and had a first-team All-WAC selection in Erica Shelton.
After stepping down following the 2013 season, Phillips moved to San Francisco where she coached three teams through the Palo Alto SC and Stanford SC programs. Since January, she has been on staff as an assistant coach at the University of San Francisco.
While she was at Bakersfield, Phillips’ teams earned the athletic department’s highest GPA (in 2011) and garnered NSCAA All-Academic team honors in each of her five seasons. In 2013, five student-athletes were also named Academic All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
Phillips holds a USSF National B coaching license. This past year, she was selected from among a pool of more than 600 applicants to be part of the NSCAA’s “30-Under-30” program. The program is a year-long education and mentorship opportunity for a select few up-and-comers who have made soccer coaching their career of choice, and was created to support young coaches and foster their growth at a crucial point in their vocation.
Phillips played her collegiate soccer at Cal State Stanislaus, where she was a two-time captain and team MVP. A three-time All-California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) selection, Phillips also garnered Daktronics/CoSIDA First Team All-West Region and second-team NSCAA All-West Region honors. Off the field, she was a Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) member and served as its Vice President.
Phillips graduated from Cal State Stanislaus in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and kinesiology, and completed her Master’s of Education in curriculum and instruction at Cal State Bakersfield in 2011.