Kris Kelderman has been named the head men’s soccer coach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Director of Athletics Andy Geiger announced Wednesday.
Kelderman comes to Milwaukee from Green Bay, where he spent the past season as head coach.
Prior to his time in Green Bay, Kelderman served four seasons as an assistant coach in MLS and two stints as an assistant coach at George Mason. He also played four seasons in MLS and a total of nine seasons in pro soccer.
A Neenah native, Kelderman was a two-time state champion and the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year in 1986 at Neenah High School while playing for his father, Harry. He actually won championships as a player at the high school, college and professional levels and was inducted into the Wisconsin State Soccer Association Hall of Fame in March 2010.
“We are thrilled to hire a Wisconsin Soccer Hall of Famer to lead our men’s soccer program,” Geiger said. “Kris has tremendous credentials as a player and a coach and will be an excellent leader for us. We are looking forward to having him in Milwaukee.”
“I am very excited. This is a great opportunity to step into a program with great history and tradition,” Kelderman said. “It is also an opportunity to step in at a time where there is a little bit of rebuilding that needs to go on, but I am ready for the great challenge and we will prevail. I am looking forward to bringing back the glory days of UWM soccer.”
Kelderman is the seventh head coach in UWM men’s soccer history, taking over a program that has made eight NCAA Tournament appearances but has not played in the postseason since 2005.
“Everything is there,” Kelderman said. “The program has had a lot of success, there is a great facility in Engelmann, a great city and the school has a tremendous reputation. I am looking forward to getting the ball rolling and making everyone involved and invested in the program extremely proud.”
Kelderman’s coaching career is highlighted by four seasons as the top assistant for two different teams in MLS. He worked with the Kansas City Wizards from 2007-2009 and then spent the 2010 season with D.C. United. His time at George Mason included an NCAA Tournament appearance and top-25 ranking in 2005-06 and a second stint at the school before becoming the head coach at Green Bay.
Kelderman has also served as the technical director at Vienna Youth Soccer Club (2003-06) and Curt Onalfo Soccer, Inc. (2001-06), as the head coach and trainer with D.C. United Super Y-League U17 team (2004-06) and as the head coach of the Wisconsin Rebels (2000).
This past season in Green Bay, Kelderman guided the Phoenix to an 11-7 record, making him just the third coach in Phoenix history to have 11 wins or more in their first season at the helm. Kelderman also helped Tony Walls to Horizon League Player of the Year honors and played a major role in helping Walls become the first player in Phoenix history to sign a professional contract with an MLS team.
Kelderman’s professional playing career lasted nine seasons. He spent a total of four seasons with three teams in MLS, winning back-to-back championships while playing for D.C. United in 1996 and 1997. He then moved on to play for the Miami Fusion in 1998 and the New England Revolution in 1999. His pro career also included time with Milwaukee Rampage (1993-95, 2000) and Milwaukee Wave (2000-01) as well as stints with the St. Louis Ambush, Tampa Bay Terror, Buffalo Blizzard and Baltimore Blast.
Kelderman was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer at the University of Virginia and helped the Cavaliers win the national championship in 1989. He closed out his career in the top-10 in both career points and assists in Virginia’s record books. Kelderman also played on the Under-17 United States National Team in the U17 Youth World Cup in 1985.