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The first women's soccer player to turn pro has returned to her alma mater.

March 23, 2017

First Cornell Women’s Soccer Player to Go Pro Joins Red Coaching Staff

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Tori Christ ’14, the first Cornell women’s soccer player to ever go pro, will be coming back to Ithaca to join the team as an assistant coach, the team announced Thursday.

Christ’s hiring comes exactly one month following the promotion of Dwight Hornibrook to the head coaching job after he served in an assistant role for the past five seasons

“We hired someone who not only has a history of success on the field and in the classroom, but we have someone who is also going to add value to the kids who are here now in terms of her coaching experience,” Hornibrook said of Christ.

A New York State native, Christ was the Red’s starting goalie for two years, finishing her career with a 3-1-1 record, 1.06 goals-against average and two shutouts in her senior season. During her junior year, Christ racked up 88 saves — setting a program record at the time, which currently sits at 11th highest in school history — to lead the Ivy League that season.

Hornibrook and Christ overlapped at Cornell for the her junior and senior season, and Christ played her final season when the current graduating seniors were freshmen. Hornibrook always knew that Christ was a special player, but he never quite expected to be coaching alongside of her.

“I wouldn’t say I envisioned it because at that time I never envisioned myself being the head coach here,” Hornibrook said. “But I always thought she would make a great coach because she’s just so committed to the sport and works so hard at it. Her enthusiasm is a big deal and I think that she’s going to be one of those very positive encouraging people.”

Despite getting only two years of quality playing time, Christ holds a handful of accolades under her belt. She was named as a two-time captain — the first time at Cornell since the 1985-86 season — and the only player to be a three-time winner of the Randy May Coaches’ Award, given to the player best demonstrating spirit and dedication. Christ also received the Inspirational Player Award after her senior season.

On campus, Christ served on the executive boards of the Red Key Athlete Honor Society, the Student Athlete Advisory Council and was inducted into the Sphinx Head Senior Honor Society.

“She’s been the grind of being an Ivy League student as well as a Cornell athlete, and has that first hand experience and understands the stress that student athletes here are under,” Hornibrook said, adding the players are excited to have someone on staff who was in their position not long ago.

After Cornell, Christ signed on with the Boston Breakers for the National Women’s Soccer League. With just one season in Boston without an appearance, Christ then spent one year playing professionally in Sweden with Västerås BK30 and spent this past year in Finland with Rovaniemen Palloseura in the Finnish Premier League before making her return to Ithaca.

“[Christ is a] really really team first person and obviously extremely hard worker,” Hornibrook said. “She is a pretty impressive pedigree.”