May 7, 2012
After serving two seasons as the assistant coach for the UCCS men’s soccer team, Johnnie Keen has been promoted to head coach for the Fall 2012 season. Keen, who began his coaching tenure at UCCS in July 2010, is excited to lead the team and continue the momentum that former coach Sean Ellis had built his final few years.
“My goal as the head coach now is to really just retain as many players as we have and lead the guys the way we have been going the past couple years,” stated Keen. “Coach Ellis had these guys going in a good direction and I hope to do the same when I am head coach.”
Keen, who has coached soccer for 12 years, said that his responsibilities as an assistant coach will really help him make the transition to head coach.
“When I was assistant coach, I mainly handled the training sessions for the team,” stated Keen. “I would train the team on a daily basis and get them ready and in shape to take on the season. Besides doing that, I would also make the travel plans for the team when we went on the road, too.”
Having been with the team for two seasons and trained with them nearly every day, Keen feels like the players already know what he brings to the table as far as coaching and that will pay dividends throughout the season.
“We have a good core of players coming back this year, many of which I have trained with the last couple seasons,” stated Keen. “Continuing to retain players will be one of my goals as a coach and I think that will help us reach another goal of making the playoffs each season,” he added.
Aside from his time at UCCS, Keen has compiled an impressive resume. According to the UCCS athletics website, gomountainlions.com, Keen was a professional soccer player from 2002-2004 for the Wilmington Hammerheads and was team captain in 2004. Keen was also a D2 Pro Select League National Champion in 2003, and hopes to bring some of things he learned from those experiences to the team at UCCS.
“In the end, I just want the guys to enjoy the game and work hard out on the field,” said Keen. “I think if I can get them to do that, we will continue to be a good team like we were under Coach Ellis.”