It is a tremendous day for Dominican Athletics to welcome Tara Koleski as our new head women's soccer coach," said Leimbach. "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 has had stints as associate head coach at University Northern Iowa and as head coach for two seasons apiece at UMBC (2006–07) and West Chester University (2004–05). In 2005, Koleski led West Chester to a program-best 20-2-2 overall record and its third straight 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 (NSCAA) Northeast Region Coach of the Year, the Southeast Pennsylvania Coaches Association (SEPCA) Women's College Coach of the Year, and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) 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.
In 1999, Koleski earned her BA in Sociology from University of Portland. An All-American forward and outside midfielder at UP, the Phoenix native helped lead the Pilots to the NCAA Final Four in 1996 and 1998. She also earned First-Team All-West Coast Conference honors. She was an Umbro Select Senior All-Star and was named to the Far West Regional Team.
"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," said Koleski. "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 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 last 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 (WPSL), and served as a volunteer assistant coach at Swarthmore College (2003) and Villanova University (2002).
She will begin at Dominican on August 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 NCAA Division II last season; and midfielder Mckenna Kimball, who earned All-PacWest Honorable Mention as a sophomore last season.
The 2013 season begins on September 5 when Dominican hosts Cal Poly Pomona. Kickoff is slated for 4:30 p.m. at Kennelly Field in the John F. Allen Athletics Complex.