When the Texas soccer team travels to North Carolina on Wednesday, head coach Angela Kelly will be both a friend and a foe.
Texas will head to Chapel Hill this week for matches against North Carolina and Central Florida. At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Texas will face the host Tar Heels. North Carolina (2-0) and Texas (1-0) were ranked sixth and 17th in the United Soccer Coaches’ preseason poll.
The coach of a team that opened its season with a 3-0 win over Rice, Kelly was once an All-American midfielder at UNC.
“It was a wonderful place to go to school. I feel like we’re ready to go and battle the University of North Carolina,” Kelly said. “To be back in Chapel Hill with all of my former teammates and having the opportunity to showcase the University of Texas and the talent we have this year, I’m looking forward to that.”
Kelly won four NCAA titles while playing at North Carolina from 1991-94. She earned All-America accolades during her senior year. Over 99 games with the Tar Heels, Kelly scored 38 goals and distributed 27 assists.
Kelly expects to see many familiar faces at North Carolina’s Finley Fields South. North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance has led the women’s soccer program since it was founded in 1979. Kelly said this upcoming weekend will be alumni weekend at UNC, so ex-teammates like Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Tisha Venturini and Rosalind Berhalter will be in attendance on Wednesday.
Kelly figures that while her ex-teammates will be rooting for the Tar Heels, they’ll have a soft spot for the Longhorns. Hamm recently spoke to the Longhorns after an exhibition match against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Lilly has served as a voluntary assistant coach at Texas. This season, Lilly will work on the broadcasts for some of the LHN-televised matches.
Said Kelly: “Regardless of what they wear on the outside, they’re going to be supporting me on the inside.”
Kelly is still looking for her first win against UNC. Kelly has only faced North Carolina once since she took over at Texas in 2012, and UT dropped that 2-0 decision in Austin on Aug. 28, 2015. Her Tennessee teams were 0-7-1 against the Tar Heels from 2000-2011.
How does Kelly’s luck against her alma mater stack up against other coaches at Texas? David Pierce’s baseball program recorded a 9-4 win over Houston this spring. Karen Aston has emerged victorious during the two times her women’s basketball team has faced Arkansas-Little Rock. Shaka Smart (Kenyon College), Tom Herman (California Lutheran), Mike White (Mount Mercy College) and Jerritt Elliott (Cal State Northridge) have yet to play their old schools while coaching at Texas.
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