York College women's soccer program will begin new era with new head coach

Kelly Wakeman

A new era for the York College women's soccer program will begin with a new head coach.

Paul Saikia, York College's assistant dean for athletics and recreation, announced on Friday that Kelly Wakeman will become just the second head coach in the history of the Spartans' women's soccer team.

Wakeman takes over for Vicki Sterner, who announced her retirement in November after 24 years at the helm of the program.

The new head coach will also lead York into its first season in the Middle Atlantic Conference. York recently completed its final season in the Capital Athletic Conference and will officially join the MAC on July 1. The Spartans are set to square off against Franklin & Marshall on Sept. 1 to open their women's soccer campaign. The Spartans open MAC play on Oct. 3 when they host Widener.

Wakeman comes to York with 12 years of collegiate head coaching experience. She most recently was the head coach at Muhlenberg College, where the Mules went 16-15-4 during her tenure.

"The opportunity to become our head women's soccer coach generated an incredible pool of candidates," Saikia said in a news release. "Ultimately, as our search committee narrowed in, Kelly really rose to the top."

Wakeman inherits a team that advanced to the 2019 CAC championship game. York went 9-13 overall.  Wakeman will welcome back eight starters, including both goalkeepers and All-CAC defender Moriah Morton, who is from Hanover.

Wakeman began her head coaching career at Montgomery College. In her first year, she took a team that had won one game in the previous season to a mark of 7-10. The Raptors then won 14 matches in back-to-back years. The program won a regional championship in 2008 and were national finalists in 2009. After a 17-win season and a regional championship in 2010, Wakeman led Montgomery to a national championship in 2011.

Wakeman then was hired at Ursinus College where she posted 38 wins in five years including a pair of Centennial Conference semifinal appearances in 2014 and 2015. Wakeman then headed to Widener for one year where the Pride went 12-7 and advanced to the ECAC Tournament in 2017.

"We want to develop a team culture that is relentless in its pursuit of excellence both on the field and in the classroom," Wakeman said the news release. "Tough, competitive, caring student-athletes that want to maximize their potential, celebrate achievements, and be a part of a positive, focused environment are the type of athletes we want on the women's soccer team at York."

During her tenure at York, Sterner captured three CAC championships (2007, 2013 and 2015) and was named the CAC Coach of the Year in 2001, 2003 and 2007. Sterner ended her career with an overall record of 239-185-36.

The York women's soccer program hasn't had a winning season since 2014, when York finished 9-6-3.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. Information for this story was supplied by York College.