Koleski

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- After an extensive nationwide search, Tara Koleski has been named head coach at Dominican (Calif.), director of athletics Brandon Leimbach announced Wednesday.

"It is a tremendous day for Dominican athletics to welcome Tara Koleski as our new head women's soccer coach," Leimbach said. "As an accomplished player and coach, she will be a great role model for our women both on and off the field. I can't wait for her to get started and put her vision for success into action."

Koleski had stints as an associate head coach at Northern Iowa and as head coach for two seasons apiece at West Chester (2004–05) and UMBC (2006–07). In 2005, Koleski led West Chester to a program-best 20-2-2 overall record and its third consecutive NCAA Division II tournament appearance. The Golden Rams were ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation and reached the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Koleski was named the 2005 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Northeast Region Coach of the Year, the Southeast Pennsylvania Coaches Association Women's College Coach of the Year, and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Coach of the Year.

Before transitioning into coaching, Koleski had a successful playing career. She was a member of the United States U-21 National Team in 1996–97, then went on to play professionally in Germany in 1999 and 2000. Koleski was drafted in the 11th round by the San Diego Spirit of the Women's United Soccer Association in 2001, and also played for the Philadelphia Charge and New York Power. She was part of the full United States women's national team pool in 2002.

An All-American forward and outside midfielder at Portland, Koleski helped lead the Pilots to the NCAA semifinals in 1996 and '98. She also earned First-Team All-West Coast Conference honors.

"I would like to thank Dominican for this great opportunity. It gives me great pleasure to be the new leader of the Penguin women's soccer program," Koleski said. "I am grateful to work with the hard-working student-athletes currently involved in the program. The demanding expectations that Dominican has for its student-athletes to achieve in the classroom and on the field is what attracted me most to Dominican and back to the NCAA Division II level."

Most recently, Koleski, a Phoenix native, has served as the head soccer coach at Chandler High School in Arizona, where she was named 2013 Girl's Soccer Coach of the Year by the Chandler Unified School District. For the past five years, she has also served as director of coaching and head coach for Arizona Soccer Club.

Koleski served briefly as the head coach of the semi-professional Rochester Reign of the Women's Premier Soccer League , and served as a volunteer assistant coach at Villanova (2002) and Swarthmore College (2003).

Koleski will begin at Dominican on Aug. 5, where she will inherit a program that went 7-7-3 overall and finished 6-5-3 in Pacific West Conference competition in 2012. The team returns the core of its nucleus, including top goal and points leader Lauren Gollnick, who was named PacWest Freshman of the Year and a forward on the All-PacWest First Team; PacWest Second Team goalkeeper Megan Herring, whose .910 save percentage was the best in Division II last season; and midfielder Mckenna Kimball, who earned All-PacWest honorable mention as a sophomore last season.