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Racing Louisville's New Head Coach, Bev Yanez, is a 'Lifer' in Soccer

Updated: Feb 10

By: Russ Brown

Photos by: Zac Cahill/ Racing Louisville FC

Credit Beverly "Bev" Goebel Yanez's mother, Toni Goebel, for her daughter's lifelong love of soccer that led to Bev being promoted to head coach of Racing Louisville FC in November. Some explanation is in order, of course.

Because Bev was a self-described "incredibly hyperactive child,” her mother, in seeking an outlet for her child's energy, signed her up for a soccer team as a 5-year-old. As Bev grew older and other sports became available, Toni would ask her if she wanted to try any of them, and the answer was always the same:

"I want to stick with soccer."

"She told me I just had a smile on my face [about soccer]," Bev said in a recent interview with VOICE-TRIBUNE. "It was something I always enjoyed doing."

And at 35 she's still smiling as she prepares for her first season as a head coach after what many would already consider a full career and an impressive resume in soccer encompassing youth leagues, high school, college and professional levels.

A California native who grew up near Los Angeles, in Moreno Valley, Yanez has had success both as a player and coach. After becoming the first-ever National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) pick from the University of Miami, she helped her team to the best regular season record twice and was a finalist for league MVP honors. Her playing career included stints in Australia, Finland and Japan, winning championships at every stop.

After retiring from playing, Yanez worked three years in the National Women's Soccer League as an assistant coach, spending two seasons with NJ/NY Gotham FC, before moving to Louisville early this year and helping Racing reach the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup final. She has also worked as a coach in the youth soccer ranks, including the U-15 U.S. Soccer Youth National Team as well as the COPA world-class soccer training center in the Bay Area.

Yanez recalled that she has loved the soccer environment and what it has to offer from the time she became involved, and it has never waned.

"It's the whole idea of the ability to make friends and share that passion and commonality and success," she said. "And getting the opportunity to work with and meet players from different cultures that you wouldn't necessarily have taken the time to get to know. That was definitely a piece for me even at an early age. I felt like I had a circle of people."

As the top assistant to former Racing head coach Kim Bjorkegren, she was a popular choice to replace her former boss as the franchise chases its first-ever NWSL playoff berth in its fourth season.

"I am ecstatic to have Bev as our head coach," captain and midfielder Jaelin Howell said in a news release. "She is exactly what our club needs in order to be successful. We already respect her so much as a coach and person. Beyond that, I believe some of her biggest attributes are her professionalism and tactical knowledge of the game. We can't wait to get to work for her."

Defender and vice captain Abby Erceg added: "Bev was incredible to work with during the 2023 season, and her passion for the game as well as her commitment to the players was deeply appreciated. I believe she can take us to the next level and help this team reach the true potential we all believe is there."

From a conversation with Yanez, it's easy to see why she is being welcomed so enthusiastically. She's dynamic, spirited, personable, passionate about soccer and, as Erceg noted, committed to helping her players, as well as being an outstanding communicator. In her short time with Racing, she became known for her dedication to individual development, a positive relationship with the players and her attention to detail.

Racing Louisville general manager Ryan Dell describes her as "tactically sound and innovative,” with "immense potential" for guiding Racing to a championship.

Yanez said she first started thinking about a coaching career while she was playing in Japan in her mid 20’s and noticed that many of the 16 to 17-year-olds she was playing against were much more technically and tactically advanced.

"I wanted to coach and educate because I wondered how many people out there were lacking in so many areas of their game like I was," she said. "And that's really when I committed to it. It was a transition I was really excited for and ready for."

Yanez says her coaching philosophy is simple, ranging from the technical aspects of soccer to the interactions with her players.

 "I want to play the game the right way," she said. "I want to be the best coach I can be. I also want players to feel that they're invested. I want to take the time to build those relationships with them to understand what their education processes are like. It's investing in who they are both on and off the pitch [field] and what their learning capabilities are. I think that's the framework.”

We need to know what's too little and what's too much and make sure there's a clear understanding that I have their best interests at heart. I care about them, their growth and their development," said Yanez.

As far as next season is concerned, Yanez doesn't speak in specifics, but said she wants to set the tone early of what the expectations are and build on last year's team that contended for a playoff spot but fell short.

"It's an absolute privilege to be in this position," she said. "This team is incredibly good in multiple aspects. This industry has its highs and lows very naturally. So it's important and the people around me that I'm building with to make sure everybody's bought in and that we stay the course. That's going to be the most important thing for us this season."

Yanez had close ties with Louisville even before she took the assistant coaching job. She is married to her Moreno Valley High School sweetheart, Othaniel, who is a former University of Louisville soccer player and coaches at the Louisville FC Academy.

"We have shared a love for the game for so many years," she said.

She also has a fondness for her new hometown.

"On my first visit, I was completely ecstatic about the experience," she said. "We all know the food's fantastic. And the people are incredibly kind. This city means a lot to me. This club means a lot to me."

Along with her demanding responsibilities as a coach, Yanez must balance those duties with her family. Her oldest daughter, Naomi-Rae, is three and youngest daughter June was born in November. Othaniel's mother helps with childcare.

"I would be lying if I said it's easy," Yanez said. "But I have a good support group with the team and at home. My husband is very supportive of my aspirations in this industry."

She plans to occasionally take both girls to games, and she also lets Naomi-Rae run around the field after some training sessions.

"When (Naomi-Rae) sees our team logo anywhere, she always points and says, 'That's mommy's work,'" Yanez said. "She loves being around here, loves the game, loves kicking the ball, and watches games with us on TV."

Sounds like there's another energetic soccer player on the rise in the Yanez family tree.


Racing Louisville's full 2024 schedule is still to be announced, but a number of details are already known heading into the new year. Next season opens March 16 and finishes with the NWSL Championship game on Nov. 23. With the addition of expansion sides Bay FC and Utah Royals FC, each of the 14 NWSL teams will play each other twice for a total of 26 regular-season matches – 13 home and 13 away – over a seven-month campaign. Eight teams will qualify for the playoffs in an expanded field, with the post season set to start the weekend of Nov. 9-10.

The NWSL will take a break from regular-season action during the 2024 Summer Olympics in France. After the league’s mandatory midseason break from July 8-14, no league games will be played between July 15-August 18. During the month-long Olympic break, all 14 NWSL clubs will participate in an international tournament that starts July 19-21.

The new schedule framework comes as the NWSL enters a new media rights agreement that will show 118 matches across four platforms: Prime Video, ESPN/ABC, CBS and Ion Network.

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