April 15, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--University of New Mexico women's soccer head coach Kit Vela announced that assistant coach Kristen Graczyk has signed to play for the FC Gold Pride of the Women's Professional Soccer League.
"This is a tribute to her hard work," said Kit Vela. "She has been able to train with our program and be a part of it. She's a hard worker. When she got the opportunity to go to preseason, Albertin Montoya saw in her a kid that's never going to give up, who's fitter then the rest and all those things are what our program is about. It's a great tribute to her and a it's a great tribute to our program."
Graczyk (GRAY-sick) leaves UNM after four seasons coaching under Vela. She joined the women's soccer coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2005 and was promoted to assistant coach prior to the 2006 season. During her tenure at New Mexico, Graczyk helped lead the Lobos to four consecutive winning seasons.
"It has been an amazing experience," said Graczyk. "I came out to California for tryouts and then I was invited to preseason. We had several cuts until I finally made the team. It's been a great experience. Just making the team has been such an amazing accomplishment."
"Being a coach at UNM was such an amazing experience," Graczyk added. "Working with Kit and Jorge was great and I learned a lot. They were so generous and allowing me to play in the summer gave me this opportunity. Being in the setting at UNM with a very competitive team and being able to practice with those girls everyday gave me the environment to train and definitely helped me prepare."
Graczyk was a two-time All-American at the University of Connecticut and a four-year All-Big East Conference honoree. She started all four years for the Huskies from 2001-04 and is the all-time leading scorer in UConn history. Graczyk was the ninth player in UConn's 25-year history to score 100 career points. Other notable accomplishments included Big East offensive player of the year in 2003, northeast Regional player of the year as a junior, Soccer America Most Valuable Player in '03, a 2004 MAC Herman Trophy semifinalist and a member of the U-21 National team.
An Albuquerque native, Graczyk graduated from La Cueva High School in 2001. She received her B.A. in Sports Marketing from UConn in 2005 and recently graduated with her graduate degree in Sports Administration from UNM.
Graczyk is the sister of former Lobo Mike Graczyk who played goalie for New Mexico and is currently a member of the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS.