Cajuns hire ex-MLS pro, Trinity coach

Former Trinity University women's soccer head coach Lance Key has been named the new women's soccer coach at UL Lafayette.

LAFAYETTE — Former MLS player and Trinity University women’s soccer coach Lance Key has been hired to coach the UL Lafayette women’s soccer team, Cajuns athletic director Bryan Maggard announced Thursday.

Key replaces Scott Wieland, who resigned in October after 14 years with the Ragin’ Cajuns. 

Maggard said that Key has demonstrated success at multiple levels of professional and collegiate soccer. Key had an 83.3 winning percentage at Trinity University in San Antonio from 2004-16, advancing to 11 NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship Tournaments and coaching 21 All-America student-athletes on the pitch.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Lance, Natalie and their children to the Ragin’ Cajuns Family,” Maggard said. “Lance will bring excellent experience as a head coach and a former soccer player at both the collegiate and professional levels. His commitment to developing and mentoring young women is unprecedented, and he will greatly support our efforts to compete for and win championships in the Sun Belt Conference.”

Key’s win percentage is third all-time across NCAA Divisions I, II or II, both men’s and women’s sides. He was the national coach of the year after both the 2009 and 2013 seasons. The Tigers went 210-20-18 under his leadership.

Twenty-seven of his players earned Scholar All-America status. Four went on to earn NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships during his time at Trinity.

“Pursuing excellence in all facets of life is what really drives me as a coach and leader of young people,” Key said. “Dr. Maggard’s and Dr. Savoie’s collective leadership and vision for the student-athlete experience perfectly aligns with my own. In only a short amount of time spent with them, anyone can see the exciting direction of Louisiana Athletics, the soccer program and the surrounding campus and community. The last calendar year for the Ragin’ Cajuns, especially, has been on an incredible upward trajectory, and I’m thrilled that my family and I have the opportunity to be a part of it at this perfect time.

“The student component of student-athlete is very important to me. The facilities available to the Ragin’ Cajuns are nothing short of first-class. From the academic support center on over to the training and competition facilities. I cannot wait to see our student-athletes thrive, firstly as human beings and then as competitors. That’s the type of experience we plan to give at Louisiana.”

Following the 2016 season, Key served as an assistant women’s soccer coach at Texas (2016-17) before returning to Trinity as an assistant for the men’s soccer program. Key began his coaching career with the program, assisting the Tigers from 2001-04 and helping the program to the 2003 NCAA National Championship. The program built an impeccable 96-6-5 record with Key providing direction from the sideline.

Key was a standout defender for the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer from 2000-2001, earning 34 caps for all 34 of his appearances in two campaigns before retiring as a professional due to injury. Key was the only Division III student-athlete selected in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft.

Key was a three-time All-American at Trinity from 1996-99, earning Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Player of the Year as a senior. He was inducted into Trinity University’s Athletic Hall of Fame as part of its 2015 class.

Key has received multiple coaching certifications and diplomas from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He also served on the NSCAA Women’s Soccer Advocacy Council in 2016. In addition to his work at Trinity, Key previously served as an assistant with the San Antonio Scorpions of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 2014, as the director of Trinity Soccer Academy from 2004-16 and the Director of Training at the Classics Elite Soccer Academy (CESA) from 2002-08. He has also been a broadcast analyst for Fox Sports’ coverage of San Antonio Football Club broadcasts since 2017.

Key earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Trinity in 2000. He and his wife Natalie are the parents of two daughters, Ava and Ela, and one son, Judah.

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