After ending her professional playing career in January, Rebekah Roller (Brookfield East) is starting her college coaching career with the reigning NCAA Division III women's national champions.
The 25-year-old Roller was named a full-time assistant by Washington-St. Louis coach Jim Conlon in late March. She replaced Randi Simmons, who left the Bears to take over as coach at Napa Valley (Calif.).
"Rebekah is going to be a great fit into our WashU women's soccer family," Conlon said in a news release. "She has a tremendous playing background and possesses all the key attributes of a great coach. She is going to make an immediate impact with the women on the team."
Roller tied DePaul women's program records for appearances (82) and starts (80) during her college career from 2010 to '13, scoring two goals and adding 10 assists.
She signed with Merilappi United in Finland's top-level Naisten Liiga in 2015, then returned stateside last year and joined up with with the Chicago Red Stars – Roller played for the club's Reserves in the Women's Premier Soccer League and was on the bench for several first-team matches in the National Women's Soccer League.
Roller closed out her career with a six-month stint with ASD Mozzanica in Italy's Women's Serie A, making two appearances (one start).
"I am very excited about the opportunity to join the WashU Women's Soccer program and the Bear family. The energy and support within the program and the athletic department as a whole was more than apparent during my time spent on campus," Roller said. "It's an excellent program that plays for an outstanding university, and I cannot think of a better program to join."
The Bears' roster last season included a pair of Wisconsin natives in Megan Wolf (Racine Prairie School) – she converted the winning kick from the spot as Washington-St. Louis outlasted Messiah (Pa.) 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the national final last December – and fellow junior defender Elise Brown (Madison West).
- Brad Swenby (Muskego/UW-Milwaukee) was named an assistant in the Minnesota women's program this week. He was most recently an assistant for the Indiana men's team, and also has coached at Lewis (Ill.), the University of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee. "He brings a great deal of experience as both a player and a coach in that aspect of the game and we know he is going to make an immediate positive impact with our goalkeepers," Golden Gophers coach Stefanie Golan said of Swenby, who played professionally with the Minnesota Thunder in the USL A-League in 2003. "We also love that he is coming from a program that has a deeply rooted winning tradition and can’t wait to see what fresh ideas and perspectives he can bring to our program from that experience." On Twitter: @bswenby
- The UW women's program will include a new face next fall, as Kristen Weiss no longer is listed as an assistant on coach Paula Wilkins' staff – the school also posted an opening for the position. Weiss, an Ohio native who earned four caps for the U.S. women's national team in 2001, joined associate coach Tim Rosenfeld on the Badgers' staff for the past four seasons. Before coming to Madison, she had stints as an assistant at Clemson, Maryland and UW-Milwaukee.
- Kris Geier (UW-Milwaukee) was promoted to head coach at St. Clair in Windsor, Ontario, returning to the position he held from 2003 to '07. Geier, who was an assistant for the Saints for the past three seasons, played for the Panthers from 1980 to '83 and was a two-time captain and team MVP in 1982.
- Seven state women's NCAA Division III programs and six Wisconsin men's teams will have a new conference rival starting in fall 2018, as Illinois Tech will join the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. The Scarlet Hawks, who are based in Chicago, will be the first new NACC member since Milwaukee School of Engineering joined the league in fall 2007, and the first change to the conference's lineup since Maranatha Baptist left the NACC following the 2012-13 school year.