KEUKA PARK, N.Y.— Steve Christenson has a wealth of soccer coaching experience, having led the resurgence of the Utica College’s men’s program, serving as the head coach of the professional Rochester Ravens and also assisting the University of Rochester’s women’s team.
Christenson was recently hired by Keuka College to lead the Storm’s women’s soccer team, taking over for longtime head coach Jamie Burke, who is focusing her coaching efforts on Keuka’s powerhouse softball team.
“I’m really excited about taking over at Keuka. It’s a school you can win at, and it has that small-school feel. That family atmosphere really drew me to campus,” said Christenson, 33, who lives in Brockport, N.Y. with his wife, Tarah, and son, Reid, 3.
“My experience and my proven track record recruiting, I have a proven track record of success and my coaching of top-level female athletes made me a good candidate for this position. I understand these are students first and it’s all about the total character development, both athletically and academically.”
Christenson joins the Green and Gold after spending one year as the assistant coach for the University of Rochester and three years as the Utica head men’s soccer coach. He guided Utica to a 23-28-3 overall record in three seasons, including posting a then-school record 10 wins in 2007 en route to earning the Empire 8 Conference Coach of the Year honors.
Christenson’s squads claimed the first two Empire 8 Conference tournament appearances in school history in 2007 and 2008. Prior to serving as head coach, he was a graduate assistant at Utica for two years.
“The academic offerings we have will bring in those talented recruits and with the connections I have from coaching some of the top-level 16, 17 and 18-year-olds in Rochester, I’m confident we can bring in high-level student-athletes,” said Christenson, who becomes the 11th coach in the 29-year history of women’s soccer on campus.
“I’ve coached so many athletes at this age who are looking to go to the next level. That along with this college’s strong reputation will help our program keep raising the bar.”
As the Director of Coaching for Doug Miller Soccer in Rochester the past five years, Christenson oversaw the club’s coaching staff and designed and organized the club’s training curriculum.
The Churchville native also served as the head coach of the Rochester Ravens women’s soccer team, a member of the Women’s W-League, and he coached several club teams in the Doug Miller Soccer organization.
His wide-ranging coaching resume is one of the many reasons why Athletic Director Dave Sweet felt that Christenson was the perfect candidate to take over for Burke, who posted a 69-47-6 overall record (.590 winning percentage) in eight seasons with three NCAA Division III tournament appearances in the last five years.
“We’re excited about hiring Steve. We were real excited with the group we brought in for interviews and for the entire pool of candidates, but Steve came in and interviewed very well and brought a lot of excitement and good coaching experience,” Sweet said.
“He’s had some real good success at both Utica and in the Rochester area and he has coached some of the higher level soccer teams in the area. Steve just seemed to fit in well with our staff and he has a very good understanding of what Division III soccer and athletics are all about. As much as he wants his teams to be successful on the field, what he really wants to have happen is see his student-athletes, at the end of four years, walk down the aisle and get their diplomas.”
A four-year standout at Roberts Wesleyan College who graduated in 2003 with a degree in elementary education, Christenson helped lead the Raiders to three national championship appearances and the forward led the squad in scoring during his junior year.
Christenson is also involved with the New York State West Olympic Development Program (ODP), where he has been on the staff since 2007. He was named Coach of the Year in 2009 and his ’92 Boys team advanced to the Region I finals in 2008.
Christenson currently holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “A” License.