Women's Soccer Assistant Coach Kit Vela Named Head Coach At New Mexico

Dec. 13, 2000

ALBUQUERQUE -- University of New Mexico director of athletics Rudy Davalos announced today that Kit Vela has been named head coach for the UNM women'sKit Vela

Jorge Vela soccer team effective immediately. Vela replaces John DeWitt, who resigned last month.

Davalos also announced that Jorge Vela - Kit's husband - will be the assistant coach for the women's soccer team.

Kit Vela, 32, was an assistant for five years at USC under head coach Jim Millinder after serving as his assistant for two years (1994-95) at Loyola Marymount. She also served as a staff member and assistant coach for the Region IV girls' Olympic Development Program from 1996-1999.

During her time at USC, the Trojans complied a 73-27-4 record, winning at least 14 games each year. USC also made its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance this season, losing in the second round to UCLA. The Trojans finished the season ranked #21 with a 14-6-2 record, including a 1-0-1 mark against the Mountain West Conference. USC tied #10 BYU 1-1 in Provo, Utah before defeating Utah 4-1 in Salt Lake City.

'Kit comes from an outstanding soccer program at USC,' said Davalos. 'She has been affiliated with several youth and club teams in Southern California for a long time. We feel confident that Kit can make improvements in the Lobo women's soccer program.'

'We're just thrilled about coming to New Mexico, said Kit Vela. 'It sounds like the athletic department is really committed to building a quality women's soccer program. We've worked really hard to get to this point and we're thrilled to have this opportunity.

Prior to entering the collegiate ranks at Loyola Marymount, Kit Vela was the head girls' soccer coach for three years (1992-94) at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif. She led Bishop Montgomery to three Mission League championships, the 1994 CIF Division II title and was named the 1994 Division II Coach of the Year.

Kit Vela was a four-year letter winner (1986-90) at Brown University in both women's soccer and softball. Brown's women's soccer team was nationally ranked in all four years of and made three NCAA tournament appearances during her career. Still active as a player, she won the women's open national championship in July of 1998 with Sportsklubben Fram Ajax, a club team based in Palos Verdes, Calif. Ajax is currently a member of the Women's Semi-Professional Soccer League (WPSL).

Kit Vela earned her bachelor's degree in social anthropology from Brown in 1990 and is currently working on her secondary teaching credential. Formerly Kit Schwartzman, she married Jorge Vela in May of 1997.

Jorge Vela, 32, spent the past five years as USC's goalkeeper coach after serving as an assistant women's soccer coach at Loyola Marymount in 1995. He also spent two seasons (1993-94) as an assistant men's soccer coach at Cal State Northridge. One of the most renowned goalkeeper coaches in the United States, Jorge Vela is the director of the Vela Soccer Academy, which has produced some of the finest keepers in America. He has also coached youth-level boys and girls' club and high school teams since 1989.

Jorge Vela was an outstanding goalkeeper himself in his native Guatemala. From 1983 to 1987, he played for Guatemala's Under-20 and then Under-23 national teams. He also played professionally for four years (1985-88) in his homeland and was a member of the Comunicaciones first division national championship team. After coming to California, he played on the California state Western Regional team and was on the 1993 Cal-South Under-23 team that won the national championship. From 1993 to 1998 he played professionally with the Valley Golden Eagles of the United States Interregional Soccer League.

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