Tomi Benney is the new head coach of the Pattonville High girls soccer program.
It shouldn't take her much time to acclimate to the position.
Benney has been an assistant coach for her alma mater since 2014 and was a standout player from 2006-09, helping the Pirates finish third in the Class 3 state tournament her senior season.
“I am ecstatic about taking over the program that I once was a part of,” Benney said. “It’s all about creating a family atmosphere. Creating a fun, safe atmosphere where the girls have a burning fire to play for each other. The memories will come. There is nothing more fun than playing soccer with your friends you grew up with.”
Benney knows that first-hand as she helped lead the Pirates to a 79-23-1 record during her four seasons playing midfield and defense, providing 14 goals and 19 assists. She went on to play four seasons at Maryville University from 2009-12.
She returned to Pattonville as a girls assistant coach in 2014 and has been a boys assistant coach under head coach Marcus Christian since 2015.
From the 2017-19 seasons, Benney was on the girls staff under Jason Sellers, who now is Pattonville's athletics director.
“I’m very excited for Tomi, she has demonstrated a dedication and commitment to the program for years,” Sellers said. “She is a Pirate to her core. Tomi will bring a new energy and enthusiasm to the role. What I appreciate about her is not just her knowledge of the game, the Xs and Os and such, but what she brings in building relationships with our kids, getting them ready for life outside the game. She's an excellent motivator and I know the girls are excited to get going under her leadership.”
Pattonville posted a 16-7-1 record during its last season in 2019 before the 2020 season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were seven players slated to graduate in 2021 from the 2019 team and four from the class of 2022. The top player still eligible to play this spring from that team is senior Kaeli Benedict, a Missouri State University signee who scored 18 goals while adding nine assists during her sophomore season.
“As for the program there will be small tweaks here and there, but Jason made sure him and I were a team when it came to coaching and decisions,” Benney said. “We have built a program I am proud of and I plan to continue on the same path.”