Minnesota Aurora FC hires Colette Montgomery as coach, sporting director

Colette Montgomery left home in England 20 years ago for a summer internship working soccer camps in some place called Minnesota and never left.

On Monday, Minnesota Aurora FC named Montgomery as its new sporting director and head coach.

"I went in July and came back in January," she said. "It was not the same Minnesota I saw in summer."

All these years later, Montgomery is here to stay.

Three months after she accepted Aurora's offer as director of camps and first assistant, Montgomery was promoted after a comprehensive search produced three other finalists.

Before joining Aurora in January, she coached six seasons for North Central University in Minneapolis, the last two as manager/head coach for both its women's and men's programs.

"Minnesota has been home the last 20 years," she said. "I've been in this soccer community for a long time. I'm excited to see preprofessional and hopefully in the future pro women's soccer come to Minnesota."

Montgomery replaces Nicole Lukic, the first and only sporting director and head coach for the successful USL W League club. In March, Lukic accepted U.S. Soccer's position identifying talent for women's youth national teams.

Montgomery played back home in England before she moved to the United States and Minnesota in 2004 on that internship. An at-large member of US Club Soccer's board of directors, she also was Edina Soccer Club's coaching director and the Edina Soccer Association's director of training and development.

Montgomery serves as a grassroots coach educator with U.S. Soccer as well.

Aurora FC opens its season in the USL W League on May 23 at the Chicago Dutch Lions. Its home opener is May 30 against Racine-Kenosha at TCO Stadium in Eagan. The club has been undefeated in its first two regular seasons.

Its opener will be the first Montgomery has attended. She said she had tickets for sold-out games the last two years but gave them away because of coaching education commitments.

"This will be my first experience, and I'll have a front-row seat," Montgomery said. "It'll be a great opportunity to get out there and really experience the atmosphere and the fans."