From All-American team captain at the College of New Jersey to the head coach of Penn women’s soccer, Krissy Turner has had a long and successful career that she recently added on yet another major achievement to, notching her 300th career win as a head coach in a 1-0 battle against Lafayette on Sept. 7.
Turner started out her head coaching career at Lafayette when she was just 23. At the time, the position was not a full-time role, since there was very little investment into women’s soccer as a whole across the country. During that time frame, Turner was also coaching in the New Jersey State Girls Olympic Development Program. Despite the dismal compensation that coaching was bringing in, Turner was set on the educational process of being a coach.
“I think it was a great learning opportunity for me to be honest,” she reflected. “There wasn't enormous expectations. The expectation was to make sure that these young women have high character, try to compete in some games and not mess it all up.”
After three years with Lafayette, Turner became a full-time head coach at Monmouth, where she would coach for the next 24 years of her career. During her time at Monmouth, she led the Hawks to win 10 conference regular-season championships and eight conference tournament championships in the Northeast Conference. Over that time, she guided the team to 282 wins.
To get to that level of success, Turner had to adjust her own mindset first. From someone who was a great player and always brought a strong "work hard" mindset to her craft, Turner had to acknowledge that not every player would be just like her. Instead, she would have to work around each player’s strengths and weaknesses in order to bring out their best. Communication became a huge key to her strategy as a coach, and has been one of her biggest aspects of growth throughout the course of her career.
“You have to challenge those players,” Turner said. “You have to help them improve, and then you also have to help them come together as a team to work towards a common goal.”
Turner’s success at Monmouth also helped reaffirm her commitment to a career in coaching. During the early years at Lafayette, some doubts would always pop up regarding the sustainability of a career in coaching, especially in women’s soccer. Throughout her tenure at Lafayette, Turner was making just a few thousand dollars annually without many health benefits. However, being able to sign a long-term coaching contract with Monmouth helped her realize that coaching was, in fact, her calling in life.
After helping to mold Monmouth into a perennial contender, Turner was more than excited to move on to the next challenge in her life: building a successful program at Penn. With the Ivy League being one of the top women’s soccer conferences in the nation, Turner was never daunted by the fact that she might not be successful right off the bat; in fact, she welcomed the challenge. As a result, she was rewarded with her 300th win as a head coach early this season, and Turner hopes that there will be more to come.
In a full circle moment, it makes the moment even more magical knowing that the team she beat to secure her 300th win was the very team that first gave her the opportunity to dive into the world of head coaching.
“I think anytime you achieve a milestone, it's a great opportunity to reflect on the past,” she said. “With me, the past is about coaching a tremendous group of young women over the years, getting the opportunity to work with a great staff, and just really having a network of people behind you that are always in your corner.”