Katie Shields, who guided the 2016 Saint Louis University women’s soccer team to 14 wins and an Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season runner-up finish, is in her fifth season as the Billikens’ head coach.
The 2016 Billikens, 14-4-2 overall and 7-1-2 in conference play, were the No. 2 seed in the A-10 Championship. SLU’s 14 regular-season victories tied a school record, and the Bills’ .789 regular-season winning percentage was the second best in program history. The Billikens shared the A-10 lead with nine shutouts and ranked second in the league with a 0.82 goals against average.
Individual honors were plentiful for Shields’ fourth Billiken squad. Saint Louis equaled a program record with five student-athletes on the All-Conference first and second teams combined, and its three first-team choices – Defensive Player of the Year Kacey Bright, Danielle Tolmais and Mary Niehaus – tied for the second most in program history. The trio went on to earn NSCAA Mid-Atlantic All-Region accolades (Bright first team, Tolmais and Niehaus third team), matching another program mark.
Shields directed one of the A-10’s toughest defensive units in 2015. The Billikens posted a 1.07 GAA in all games and a 0.95 GAA in 10 conference contests. In fact, only one Atlantic 10 opponent scored more than one goal against Saint Louis.
The 2014 Billikens won eight games, an increase of two victories over the previous season. Shields’ squad was highly competitive against the A-10’s best, falling by just one goal to NCAA Championship qualifiers Dayton (overtime) and La Salle. The SLU offense also was more prolific under Shields’ guidance; the Billikens tallied 31 goals and 31 assists, significant increases over their 2013 totals of 19 goals and 15 assists. Several players established career scoring highs.
In her first season at the controls, Shields led Saint Louis to a second-place tie in the 2013 A-10 regular-season standings, an improvement of 10 spots from the previous year. The Billikens, who were 5-2-1 in conference play, qualified for the A-10 Championship for the first time since 2009. In addition, four players earned A-10 postseason accolades, the most since 2009.
Shields, who served as a Billiken assistant coach in 2012, was named the third head coach in program history on Jan. 15, 2013.
Prior to her arrival at SLU, Shields spent two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Northwestern. She served three years in the same capacities at her alma mater, Harvard, where she worked with head coach Ray Leone (now head coach at Maryland) and assistant coach Tracey Leone, who went on to serve six seasons as head coach at Northeastern. Shields began her coaching career with a one-year stint as an assistant at UC Irvine under head coach April Heinrichs, who now is Technical Director for the U.S. Women's National Teams.
In addition to her collegiate coaching experience, Shields is an assistant with the U.S. Youth National Teams staff at various training camps and international competitions. She also serves as the liaison for the state of Missouri’s U.S. Soccer Training Center. Additionally, Shields was assistant goalkeeping coach for the Boston Breakers of Women's Professional Soccer under head coach Tony DiCicco in 2009; head coach of the Boston Bolts F.C. girls’ youth clubs for two years; and camp director/senior staff member of Soccerplus Goalkeeper School from 2006-11.
“During our search for a head coach in January 2013, we engaged in exhaustive communication with National Team coaches, U.S. Soccer officials and NCAA College Cup coaches,” SLU director of athletics Chris May said. “They were unanimous in their support of Katie Shields as a leader who was ready to be a successful head coach.
“Katie is passionate about soccer and is committed to our department goals of educating student-athletes, competing at the highest level and building community,” May said. “We are confident she will develop a championship program by building trust, demonstrating a commitment to excellence and showing she cares about her student-athletes.”
“I am thrilled and honored to be the head women's soccer coach at Saint Louis University,” Shields said. “I am grateful to (vice president for student development) Dr. Kent Porterfield, Chris May and (senior associate director of athletics) Janet Oberle for believing in me and my vision to lead the SLU women’s soccer program.
“Saint Louis University offers a unique combination of academic prestige, top-notch athletic facilities and a wealth of local soccer tradition, providing a world-class experience for our student-athletes.
“We have made great progress in changing the competitive culture of the program, and I look forward to continuing to build SLU women's soccer back into a championship-level program,” Shields said. “The commitment of the current players and strong recruiting prospects promise a bright future for our program in the classroom, on the field and in the community.”
Shields helped guide Harvard to the Ivy League title and an NCAA Championship berth in 2008 and 2009. She coached two Ivy League Rookies of the Year, 16 All-Conference selections and six National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Region choices.
A goalkeeper, Shields enjoyed a distinguished playing career (2002-05) at Harvard. She garnered All-Ivy accolades all four seasons and was an NSCAA All-Region honoree and team captain her senior campaign. Shields ranked fourth nationally in save percentage in 2005, set a school record for shutouts in a season and helped lead the 2004 Crimson to the NCAA Championship.
Shields is a 2006 graduate of Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT KATIE SHIELDS
"Katie is a bright mind in the game and has a wonderful future. She has constantly shown the ability to work hard and inspire her players to be the best they can be. Saint Louis made a great decision in having Katie land her first head-coaching job." - Erica Walsh, head women's soccer coach, Penn State University
"Katie Shields has distinguished herself as a master recruiter and one of America's finest young, talented coaches. No one will be surprised as Katie develops SLU into a program of national significance. She is known for integrity, a tireless work ethic and a wonderful soccer pedigree. Congratulations to Katie and to Saint Louis University." - Tony DiCicco, USA National Team Coach '96 Olympic Gold; '99 World Cup Championship; '08 U20 World Cup Championship
"Katie Shields is an incredible hire for Saint Louis University. She has great insight into the game and has the ability to recruit top talent and develop strong relationships with players. She is a great leader and great worker who is more than ready for a Division I head-coaching position. Katie is a tremendous human being, tremendous coach and tremendous recruiter who is the best choice for Saint Louis." - Tracey Leone, head women's soccer coach, Northeastern University
"Katie Shields is one of the brightest young coaches in America. From the moment you meet her to the moment she starts the training session, you feel her deep passion for the great game. She demonstrates with impeccable skill, she progressively builds, and she brings the best out of all the players. Players love training and playing for Katie. She will build Saint Louis University women's soccer into a nationally competitive program. She also is one of the finest role models in women's soccer." - April Heinrichs, Technical Director, U.S. Women's National Teams
"I commend Saint Louis University for tabbing Katie Shields as its next head coach. Katie was instrumental in helping Harvard win two Ivy League titles. I know she will bring the same level of commitment and expertise to the Billikens that she brought to the Crimson as a player and coach. This is a great hire." - Ray Leone, head women's soccer coach, Harvard University