In 2005, Megan Kerns stepped onto the soccer field at the University of Florida and quickly became a successful South Eastern Conference (SEC) player.
The Ames product is now serving as one of the assistant coaches for the Iowa State soccer team and has been a big part of the team on and off for years.
“I take a lot of what I did as a player and try and modify it, so it fits them,” Kerns said.
At Florida, Kerns got off to a hot start. She was one of the team’s top scorers and made an immediate impact as a freshman.
She ended her collegiate career with 22 goals — 13 alone from her senior season — and 19 assists, including nine in her senior season. At the end of her collegiate career her 62 career points, ranking eighth in program history.
After college, Kerns came back to Ames and spent 2009 as a volunteer assistant coach for the soccer team, but then left the team to work as a physical therapist for the McFarland Clinic.
Kerns loved her job as a physical therapist, but she described soccer as a whole different level of passion for her.
The timing was perfect, and the coaching staff fit well together, two factors which aided her decision to switch careers.
“There’s not a day that I’ve regretted my decision,” Kerns said.
That is why she came back to the Cyclones as a volunteer assistant coach in 2013. Then, when head coach Tony Minatta was brought in, she joined his coaching staff as a permanent assistant coach.
She approached Minatta about joining the staff, and he at first had to make sure she was qualified, but he said he realized she would work perfectly.
“Given her background as an All-American at Florida… she seemed like a natural fit,” Minatta said.
Kerns works mostly with forwards and attacking midfielders now while Minatta’s main focus is on defense. The other assistant coach, Jason Wichman, has an expertise in goalkeeping.
Kerns, Minatta and Wichman have completely different personalities, but they mesh well together nonetheless.
Wichman had only good things to say about Kerns’ coaching ability.
“For the young women, she inspires confidence,” Wichman said. “Her playing background obviously gives her a lot of credibility, and the forwards look to her for answers.”
Kerns garnered a lot of respect in her playing days and has been able to translate that to the athletes that she has worked with for Iowa State.
Minatta, Kerns and Wichman quickly brought success to Iowa State’s soccer team which began one of its best stretch of seasons in program history.
Despite the struggles this year, Iowa State’s attackers say Kerns is still having a positive impact.
“Kerns has a helped me a lot,” said sophomore forward Kassi Ginther. “Going from midfield to forward this year I was struggling a little bit… she coached me all the way through it.”
Ginther has increased her role this season and said she has Kerns to thank for her success.