After guiding the Statesville Christian School boys soccer team to a state championship in 2017 and the girls to the runner-up slot the next spring, Kelly Taylor isn’t stepping away from the sport entirely.
“I’m going from being a soccer coach to a soccer mom,” she said Thursday at an assembly to announce her retirement as the head coach and to introduce the new coach, Craig Hollis.
Taylor has been involved in the soccer program at SCS for more than 10 years, serving as the assistant girls coach in 2008 and assistant for the boys team in 2013.
That was the year the Lions won their first girls state championship, and three years later, the Lions were again state champions.
The boys claimed their first title in 2017, and the next spring, the girls played for the state title, losing 0-2 in the championship game to Kerr-Vance Academy.During her 18 seasons at SCS, Taylor amassed a record of more than 200 wins, 120 losses and 12 ties. The girls team’s overall record was 147-80-8 between 2005-19 and the boys 57-40-4 between 2012-18.
Taylor told the group of students that she is not leaving the school. She will continue to teach math and be available to help the new coach if needed.
Her replacement, however, has quite a resume as a soccer coach. Hollis started his professional coaching career with the Chelsea Football Club in London, and spent four years there working with players of all ages and levels.
Coaching is something Hollis focused on early in his career even though he played the sport at a competitive level from sixth grade through college, and even a stint on a semi-pro club. But teaching others the sport was where he wanted to be.
“Right out of secondary school I knew I wanted to focus on coaching,” he said.
He did just that for several years and his experience includes time specializing in goalkeeping work with Chelsea’s Elite Training Center.
In 2012, the Kingston Upon Thames native came to the United States, coaching with the UK International club program and then moving on to director of soccer in upstate New York.
He came to the Carolinas to work with the Impact FC, a soccer organization which plays at the club level.
Kevin Hope, who assists Taylor in coaching the soccer teams at SCS, said it was important to find the right fit to fill Taylor’s shoes.
And Hollis, he said, fits that bill.
Hollis told the students he’s looking to follow in her successful steps on the soccer field. “I want to build on what Kelly started,” he said.