Champions Start Here!
WKU competes on a national stage in NCAA Division I Athletics. Specifically, the WKU Soccer program boasts 15 of 17 winning seasons, 3 conference championship appearances, 2 conference championships, 5 conference players of the year, 3 coaches of the year, and 2 professional players. Academically, the program claims 9 academic performance titles, 7 Academic All-Americans, 6 WKU scholar-athletes of the year, and a 3.6 cumulative Team GPA.
Jason Neidell, the only head coach in WKU women’s soccer history, enters his 17th season at the helm of WKU’s soccer program in 2017. Neidell has guided the Lady Toppers program since its inception in 2001 and continues to bring the program more recognition on the national stage.
In 2016, WKU enjoyed its finest season since joining Conference USA, posting a 12-6-1 record and finishing third overall in the conference standings. Freshman Chandler Backes became just the fifth player in program history with double-digit goals in one season, and the Lady Toppers surrendered just 13 goals in 19 matches, the second-fewest allowed in a single season in program history. After being selected eighth in the preseason coaches’ poll, Neidell earned C-USA Coach of the Year accolades for piloting the Lady Toppers to their third-place finish.
WKU also set a new C-USA record during a six-week stretch during the 2016 season, earning six consecutive Player of the Week awards under Neidell’s watch. That streak established a new record as the longest in conference history.
Dustin Downey enters his sixth year as an assistant coach with the WKU Soccer program in 2017 after aiding the Lady Toppers to a 52-31-14 record in the past five seasons.
In his fifth year with the program in 2016, the Lady Toppers notched 12 wins and finished third in Conference USA, the program’s highest finish since joining the lead. Under Downey’s tutelage, WKU scored 31 goals, the most in a single season since 2012. Freshman Chandler Backes exploded for 10 goals, just the fifth player in program history to record double-digit goals in a single season. In total, five WKU players earned All-C-USA honors in 2016, while head coach Jason Neidell was named the Coach of the Year.
Downey’s one-on-one technical work with the Lady Toppers helped them win the 2013 Sun Belt Conference regular season title with a mark of 10-6-5, including a 6-2 clip in league play. Downey tutored a program record seven All-Sun Belt Conference selections in 2013, which was the second most in a single season in league history. Downey also helped guide WKU to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title match for the third time in program history.
Will Beddingfield begins his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Lady Toppers in 2017 after serving as a volunteer assistant for WKU in the previous five seasons.
Beddingfield has worked primarily with goalkeepers during his time on the Hill and has led WKU to a 0.943 goals against average since 2009. WKU’s goalkeepers have allowed just 145 goals in eight seasons with Beddingfield on the coaching staff. The Lady Toppers have surrendered less than 18 goals in five of Beddingfield’s eight seasons on the Hill, including just 13 during their third-place C-USA finish in 2016. In WKU’s 16-year history, five of the top seven seasons with the fewest goals allowed have come with Beddingfield at the helm of the goalkeepers.
Every primary goalkeeper under Beddingfield has earned All-Conference honors at one point in their career. Beddingfield was instrumental in the development of WKU’s first professional player in program history, Libby Stout. Stout was a four-year starter for WKU, becoming the program’s all-time leader in wins and minutes played during the 2011 season. She posted a 45-17-11 record in goal during her career while recording 39 shutouts for the Lady Toppers. Her 39 shutouts are the second-most in NCAA history. In 76 career matches played, Stout set WKU career records for wins, shutouts, goals against average in 0.68, and save percentage at .860. Stout became the first professional in WKU Soccer history when she signed with F.F. Yzeure Allier Auvergne in France in August 2012. Stout recently signed with the Boston Breakers in the NWSL in November 2015.