Meet soccer’s new head coach Nathan Gillespie

With years of experience as a player and a coach, Nathan Gillespie plans on taking the womens soccer team to new heights.

Courtesy of Randy Bergeron and

With years of experience as a player and a coach, Nathan Gillespie plans on taking the women’s soccer team to new heights.

The soccer team has a new head coach after hiring Nathan Gillespie on March 18.

Gillespie has a long history of soccer that traces back to his early years in England. He said, “Soccer was always a big part of my life growing up.” 

Two of his many idols included Roy Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo. Keane is a former Irish soccer player with 19 major trophies in his career, and Ronaldo is recognized as one of the best soccer players of all time with a long list of accomplishments. It’s very easy to see why someone like Gillespie would admire them growing up. 

Gillespie went to college at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn. There, he played in 60 games and helped anchor one of the best defenses in the nation. During his stay, he was a key part of Cumberland soccer and overtook Lindsey Wilson to secure a spot in the Mid-South Conference championship game. 

This type of play translated into his coaching career; he coached for two years under Luke Sheekey as a graduate assistant and goalkeeper’s coach for Delta State. 

With their combined efforts, they broke multiple records, including: most games won, most games with four or more goals scored and most Gulf South Conference wins. He also gained experience working with Tottenham Hotspur and Cambridge, where he led the U9, U10 and U14 youth programs. 

This type of success can only be achieved with hard work and great leadership. 

In any sport, having someone like Gillespie to rally the troops in the locker room is crucial. For a coach, one of the most crucial but sometimes neglected responsibilities is making sure your squad is mentally prepared and raring to go before the game. While studying video and the playbook is crucial, the single most critical factor is a cohesive team effort.

“I want to make sure my team has a family away from family. We do multiple off-the-field activities that make our bond stronger,” Gillespie said. His approach fosters a supportive team environment and solidifies lifelong friendships.

When a coach has been in the players’ shoes and understands the challenges they face, the team benefits. Having this trait makes Gillespie more approachable and trustworthy, qualities that are crucial in any team.

For Gillespie, he knew he was always going to be around the game of soccer, and he was going to chase his passion. Even after he couldn’t play anymore, he had a deep love for the game, so being a coach was the logical choice.

He said, “I never wanted to work an office job or a regular 9-5. Coaching soccer was always a goal in mind once I realized I couldn’t play it anymore.”

There are a lot of talented and inspiring young people who want to play soccer just like Gillespie did when he was younger; however, there will be multiple challenges that await along that  long road. 

“You’re going to face a lot of negativity, but keep going on,” Gillespie said. These words are the advice Gillespie gives out to any young player who wants to make it big: Keep pushing forward and chasing your passion.