Southern Utah University and Kai Edwards agreed on a five-year contract extension to keep him as the head coach of the women’s soccer team. The extension was announced the morning of Tuesday, April 11.
Edwards has two kids and a wife that he loves being with in his limited amount of free time. Even with his busy schedule, Edwards surrounds himself with soccer.
“I watch soccer. When it’s not that, I play FIFA online,” stated Edwards. “I’ve been to Europe twelve times to watch soccer. That’s who I am.”
Edwards spent the 2019 season volunteering as an assistant coach for the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears before joining the Thunderbirds as the head coach for the 2020 season.
Prior to that, Edwards had six years of head-coaching experience, as he coached at Saint Mary’s College of California from the 2009 to 2014 seasons. During his tenure with the Gaels, Edwards led the team to seven top-25 wins.
“That experience of having no ego where you can go and get your butt kicked every once in a while, beating a Texas team that was No. 12 in the country, those experiences,” Edwards said about his time at Saint Mary’s. “It makes you want more because you want to do it again. You also have to remember what you went through to get to that.”
The extension comes off his third season coaching at SUU, where he has totaled a record of 16-22-5. Though his second season at the helm was not the most successful, Edwards does not set tangible-outcome goals for his teams.
“You have no control over winning a game. You have influence, but you have no control,” said Edwards. “We have four standards for a high-performing team, and we hold ourselves accountable to always making those four better. If those four are better over time, we will probably win more games than we lose.”
This mindset helped keep players’ morale up during a season in which they went 2-13-2. Their boosted self-esteem led to what has been the greatest season in school history, one that included a record nine wins to end the year at 9-6-2.
Poised to continue the team’s success, Edwards has them working hard to get ready for the fall.
Story by Brig Pyfer
Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics