Head Coach Jason Neidell has announced his new staff additions for the WKU Soccer program, a group that boasts high-level camp and player development experience as well as previous head coaching stops at both the high school and collegiate levels.
Katie Nimitz, Roman DuChateau and Zach Salchli will all be in their first season on The Hill this coming fall as the Lady Toppers kick off the 19th season in program history.
“First of all, I would like to thank former assistants Will Beddingfield and Dustin Downey for their dedication and professionalism over the past decade. It’s a challenge to replace two individuals who have cared so much about our student-athletes and program,” Neidell said.
“I’ve spent the last several months recruiting coaches instead of players, and I am incredibly excited to finally add Katie, Roman and Zach to our staff. I am particularly grateful to [Senior Woman Administrator] Lisa Schneider and our administrative team for their support during the search process and for making the transition as seamless as possible. I also understand how difficult change can be for student-athletes, so I appreciate how welcoming, open-minded and generally awesome our players have been through this process.”
Nimitz will serve in the role of assistant coach, where her primary duty will be the training, mentorship and development of the team’s goalkeepers. Nimitz joins the Lady Toppers after two seasons as an assistant coach at Quincy University in Quincy, Ill., working primarily with the Hawks’ goalkeepers. Over that same time frame, Nimitz has also served as the head coach of Florida Sol FC, a WPSL side based in Jacksonville, Fla.
While at Quincy, Nimitz’s goalkeepers collected 22 shutouts across 40 matches, including a school-record streak of eight consecutive shutouts by Megan Swanson during the 2017 campaign. During her two seasons, the Hawks put together a 27-10-3 record and finished the 2017 season ranked No. 11 in the nation after reaching the Division II Sweet 16.
Nimitz was part of the Quincy staff recognized as a Division II Regional Coaching Staff of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches in 2017. In just two seasons, she helped to coach a First Team All-American, a First Team Scholar All-American, five All-Region selections and 13 All-Conference picks, including the 2017 Great Lakes Valley Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year and 2018 Co-Freshman of the Year.
“I would like to thank Coach Neidell and the WKU Athletic Department for this wonderful and humbling opportunity. I am honored and grateful to have the ability to work with a staff and program of this caliber. The admiration and respect that I have for the success Coach Neidell and the program have had since starting in 2001 is immense,” Nimitz said. “I am very excited to work with such a talented and dedicated group of players, eager to learn and grow as a coach, and thrilled to assist in taking the program to new heights in both Conference USA and the NCAA Tournaments.”
In addition to her collegiate experience, Nimitz has worked extensively as the Camp Director of Beast Mode Soccer based in Los Angeles. Working under the founder of the program and one of the top technical trainers in the world, David Copeland Smith, Nimitz has worked with elite players from across the nation, helping to develop their technical abilities while improving weaker areas of their game in the process.
“I have had the incredible opportunity of working with David and Beast Mode Soccer for a couple of years now. Having the ability to learn from David, who trains some of the best soccer players in the world like Alex Morgan and Rachel Daly, has been extremely impactful and beneficial to my development as a coach.” Nimitz said. “I plan on using what I’ve learned from David and implementing the Beast Mode Soccer philosophy within the program on a daily basis. Through purposeful training, discipline, commitment and acquired confidence, success both on and off of the field will follow.”
DuChateau joins the Lady Toppers as an assistant coach, where his primary duties will include recruiting coordinator and training the field players. DuChateau arrives on The Hill following three head coaching stops at Lassen Community College (Susanville, Calif.), Antelope Valley (Lancaster, Calif.) and most recently at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan. A two-time conference Coach of the Year selection in 2015 and 2016, DuChateau owns a 55-18-3 record as a head coach across five seasons.
In his one season at Ottawa, DuChateau coached the Braves to a 15-4-1 overall record while being ranked as high as No. 14 in the nation at the NAIA level. DuChateau’s side featured two First Team All-Conference selections, four Second Team picks and two Honorable Mention players, a group that included Reighna Walker, the KCAC Freshman of the Year.
“I want to thank Coach Neidell for this incredible opportunity. I also want to thank the WKU and Bowling Green community for the warm welcome. As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I knew WKU was a special place and this was a special soccer program that I wanted to be a part of,” DuChateau said. “I am truly honored and humbled to be joining such a brilliant coaching staff and wonderful group of student-athletes. I am excited for the future of this program and can’t wait to get started.”
DuChateau also brings championship experience to the Lady Toppers from his two seasons (2014 and 2015) at Lassen Community College. In his second campaign, he led Lassen to the Golden Valley Conference championship en route to his first Coach of the Year selection. After moving to the University of Antelope Valley, he claimed California Pacific Conference Coach of the Year honors in his first season at the helm while reaching the finals of the conference tournament.
“Since joining the college coaching ranks, it has always been a dream of mine to coach at this level. To get the opportunity to do it here at a place like WKU is a dream come true,” DuChateau said of his opportunity.
Finally, Salchli will serve as the Director of Student-Athlete Development, where he will focus on leadership training, team-building and community service efforts. Salchli brings a local connection to the Lady Toppers after serving as the head coach at Greenwood High School for the last four years. In his time at Greenwood, Salchli coached the Lady Gators to a 64-19-9 record and reached at least the Region 4 championship match in each of his four campaigns.
“It’s an absolute honor to join Coach Neidell’s staff and work with the Lady Topper program. Having been a high school and club coach in the area for several years, I’ve had the chance to get to know Coach Neidell and seen the great work being done in the women’s soccer program,” Salchli said. “It has long been a goal of mine to have an opportunity at the Division I level, and I am very grateful for the chance to work with such a successful group.”
Greenwood won the region championship in two of Salchli’s four seasons at the helm and finished with a 17-3-3 record in 2018, advancing to the state quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons as Salchli was named the State Coach of the Year in Kentucky and the South Region Coach of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches. In 2017, the Lady Gators reached as high as No. 2 in the state rankings while winning 20 matches for only the second time in school history.
“For me, the move to WKU was the next logical step in my soccer career. While at Greenwood, we experienced tremendous success, and I had the opportunity to work with and develop many athletes who are going to be playing at the next level. Working with high-level athletes at the high school level has prepared me to carry on some of that same work with collegiate athletes. The psychology of soccer and helping athletes find that mental edge has always been a major part of my coaching,” Salchli said. “Now I get to spend time specifically focused on how to better help our athletes channel their leadership abilities to make impacts both on the field and off. It’s a position that I think really suits my strengths, and I am looking forward to helping the athletes in the WKU Soccer program really reach their highest potential.”
Nimitz, DuChateau and Salchli join a program that finished 5-8-4 in 2018 but earned at least one point in five of its last six contests. All-C-USA First Teamer Ambere Barnett, who starred as one of the top freshmen in the conference last season, is back along with eight other players who started at least nine matches for the Lady Toppers.
“Katie, Roman, and Zach all bring a wealth of talent and energy to our program, as well as a unique background that makes each puzzle piece fit together as a staff,” Neidell said of the additions. “Most importantly, they are all winners and know how and what it take to compete to win. As an entire program, we could not be more eager to get back out on the field this fall.”
– @WKUSports –
Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Athletic Communications