Vanessa Vella was named an assistant coach for the Valparaiso University women's soccer program in March of 2011. She enters her sixth season with the program in 2016.
Vella has helped guide the Crusaders through four of the top defensive seasons in program history, including a 2014 campaign which saw Valpo surrender a program-record low nine goals in 20 matches. The 2014 Crusaders set a school record with 14 wins and swept through the Horizon League undefeated, winning the program's first league regular season and tournament championships and returning to the NCAA Tournament.
The 2013 squad allowed just 15 goals in 18 matches, while during the 2012 campaign, Vella helped guide the Valpo side which ranked as the nation's best defensively, surrendering just 10 goals in 19 contests to rank first in the nation with a 0.51 goals against average. The Crusaders won 10 contests during her second season on the staff while setting new program records for GAA and shutouts.
In her first season on the sidelines with the Brown and Gold, she helped the Crusaders to a third-place finish in the Horizon League, matching the school’s best finish since joining the conference prior to the 2007 season. Valpo’s defense in 2011 notched nine shutouts, one shy of the school record, while posting a 0.94 goals against average, third best in school history.
Vella arrived at Valpo from the University of San Diego where she spent the two seasons in the same capacity. The Toreros went 23-15-4 and were nationally-ranked both seasons while she was on staff, and earned a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.
She has also gained coaching experience serving as the girls U15 and U18 premier coach for the San Diego Surf Soccer Club from 2007 through 2011, and prior to that spent 2005-2007 as a varsity assistant coach for La costa Canyon High School in California, helping lead the school to the CIF Division I semifinals twice.
Vella was a four-year letterwinner at San Diego, earning All-West Coast Conference accolades as a senior. A member of the WCC All-Freshman Team in 2004, Vella and the Toreros earned a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, and were ranked as high as ninth nationally during her senior season. A standout defender for San Diego, she finished her career with 15 assists.
Vella also was a member of the San Diego Surf Soccer Club from 1998-2004, winning a national championship in 2003.
A 2008 graduate of San Diego, Vella earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She holds her CYSA “D” License.