Coach Spotlight: Allen Eagles Kelly Thompson
Returning in her 12th year coaching (third at Allen), Coach Kelly Thompson has a special connection to the Allen girls soccer program- Thompson is an Allen soccer alum herself!
Not only has Coach Thompson helped lead her athletes to a district title in the 2018-19 season, but as an Allen Lady Eagle, Thompson, whose maiden name is Wilmoth, says one of her favorite memories involve her "teammates and lifelong friends holding up the District Championship trophies at the end of the season."
Kelly (Wilmoth) Thompson playing for Allen as a senior in 2004Photo provided by Kelly Thompson
As anyone can imagine, becoming a head coach at the high school you played for- especially a school as storied as Allen- is an honor. In Thompson's first year back at Allen, she helped lead her athletes to the state tournament for the first time in 21 years. "There are tones of amazing moments [in coaching]," said Thompson in an interview, "but so far the most unforgettable is going to the state tournament my first season here."
Thompson's second season coaching at Allen didn't quite go as planned. Although the road began being paved with success in what looked like it could have been a remarkable season for the program, COVID-19 halted athletics across the country. With competition canceled, coaches everywhere had some difficulty keeping their athletes on track. The situation was no different for Allen, but they were able to power through and prevail. "With the season canceled due to COVID, it was difficult to keep the girls motivated," Thompson said, "but we consistently communicated and provided workouts with and without the ball." Thompson's goal as a coach was to keep the girls prepared to play when the time came to compete again.
The pandemic allowed Allen to have a new look at the privilege that it is to play the beautiful game. "I think we just have a new look on things and take even more meaning in the saying 'play every game like your last,'" said Thompson. "You never know what can happen."
Coach Thompson coachingPhoto by Brooke Adams provided by Kelly Thompson
So far this season, Allen is 10-1-1 as they push towards finishing the job. "I am constantly trying different ways to motivate players," Thompson said. "I think it Is a huge part of the high school game. From providing quotes, team collages, inspirational videos, speeches from me, etc. I constantly remind the girls that we will not be outworked." Thompson and the team's pre-game mantra? It's simple when it comes to scoring - "Early and often!" The Lady Eagles have shown that they live by that mantra. This season, Allen has outscored their opponents 49-10.
"You need want to look back and think you could have done more," Thompson added. "I remind the girls of this each game and instill it in my coaching as I try to consider anything I missed or could to better to prepare the girls for our opponents as well as playoff runs."
Thompson is a firm believer in leaving it all on the field and has shown it in the way she leads her athletes. In the 2020 season, Thompson achieved her 200th career-win. Before coaching at Allen, she was the head coach at Ursuline Academy from 2014-2018. Thompson led Ursuline to three TAPPS State Championships. She also helped lead Foster High School to three District Championships between 2009 and 2014.