FAIRBORN — Wright State women’s soccer coach Travis Sobers had a vacancy on his staff this offseason. And when Krystle Seidel contacted him to apply for the job, he wasn’t sure whether it was a legit call or not.
“I thought, ‘Is somebody pranking me?’ I wanted to make sure this was right,” he said with a laugh.
“Normally, our assistant is someone just getting into the game and wants to learn what it takes at the Division-I level. They stay a couple years and move on. To get someone with her experience, it rarely comes across your desk.”
Seidel was the head coach at Division III Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn, from 2018-21. She was on the staff at Minnesota for nine years before that, climbing to associate head coach.
She reached the NCAA Sweet 16 as a player and an assistant with the Gophers.
Her husband, Andy, became coach of the FC Cincinnati U14 Academy team, and the family — they have three boys, ages 10, 8 and 2 — relocated from Woodbury, Minn., a year ago.
She was looking to stay in coaching in the region and was set to take the Cincinnati Ursuline job this fall. But she changed directions when the Raiders lost their assistant to another school.
“I’ve only known Travis for a couple weeks, but I think he has a great program going. The department as a whole has a lot of energy to it,” Seidel said.
“I’m excited to play my role and help them get to the top of the conference and compete for national championships.”
The Raiders went 8-7-3 last fall and qualified for the HL tourney, following a 5-10-3 record in Sobers’ first year in 2021.
“Her coming from that competitive environment is big time,” he said. “She can bring something to help move the program forward.”
Seidel — the Minnesota high school Gatorade player of the year in 2004 — did some remote coaching for Missouri last year (her coach with the Gophers is now with the Tigers) along with some scouting for U.S. Soccer.
She’s committed enough to the Raiders that the family is in the process of moving again — from southeast Cincinnati to the north end to help with the commute.
“We like Cincinnati. It has the same Midwest city feel, but less harsh in the winter. Our minds are still blown that we can walk the dog in limited clothing in January. We had six feet of snow in April in Minnesota,” she said.
“We’ve been very happy here and are trying to create a new network of people in our corner. But it’s definitely a big change. The majority of our family is still in Minnesota.”
The Raiders have a strong nucleus returning, including league offensive player of the year Marcella Sizer, who is sticking around for her fifth season of eligibility.
They’ve also been combing the area for high school gems.
Miamisburg’s Megan Gregory, Beavercreek’s Adelyn Canter, Waynesville’s Allie Freese and Tippecano’s Makenzie Chinn have all signed.
Canter’s sister, Elise, made the league all-freshman team last season.
“I’m really happy we’re keeping some local talent at home,” Sobers said.
First-year coach Alex Van der Sluijs has signed a beefy recruiting class, but a couple of potential difference-makers have been on campus since the semester break.
Roman Kedgley, a defender from London, England, transferred from Houston Baptist. And Van der Sluijs (pronounced Vander Slice) said: “I think he’ll be a breakout guy for us.”
The Raiders are also expecting big things from Norwegian center-back Samuel Rudjord.
“I think he’ll be a big pillar for our success,” Van der Sluijs said.
The Raiders went 4-7-6 last season, and coach Jake Slemker was let go.
Van der Sluijs was a first-year assistant in 2022 and moved into the top job after that. He previously had a successful stint as coach at Wilmington College.
The Raiders return first-team all-league defender Pierson Davis, a junior-to-be from Beavercreek, along with senior forward Reece Allbaugh, a second-team all-league selection.
Junior midfielder Chris Geddis, a two-year starter and former HL all-freshman team pick, is back after missing last season with an ACL tear.
“That’s a great re-addition. He’s a leader. He’s a composed player. He’s experienced. Not having him last year hurt us. We’re excited to have him back,” Van der Sluijs said.
The coach added: “I think we’ll be a connected group where we don’t have this all-star or world-beater, but the collective (whole) is going to be really good.”