“Soccer has been a huge part of my life and I owe a lot to the sport. Through coaching, I hope to help other young athletes foster a love for the sport and become lifelong fans as well.” - Amanda Camilli
In her early years, Amanda Camilli grew up playing for the Milwaukee Kickers Soccer Club’s Wauwatosa Kickers. When Camilli reached the U15 level, she decided that it was time to make a switch to FC Milwaukee now FC Wisconsin. Although a difficult decision, she believes that playing for FC Milwaukee was one of the best decisions she could have made.
As a part of the regional and most competitive league, Camilli was scouted by a number of college coaches and traveled to multiple away tournaments located in places she might have not been exposed to otherwise. While playing with FC Milwaukee, Camilli also tried out for the Olympic Development Program team (ODP). As a participant on the ODP state team every year from U15 to U18, she represented one of the top 18 players in Wisconsin at her age level. With practices three nights a week, drives to Madison most weekends, and hardly any free time, she was committed due to her love for the sport. “Most of my friends were met through soccer, so going to practices was like a social event for me,” said Camilli.
One of the most physically challenging and mentally exhausting events she endured was the ODP Regional Camp. “You wake up early, practice three times a day, play soccer games against other states in the Midwest Region in the evenings and then do it all over again the next day,” said Camilli. “At the end of the week, the ODP coaches nominate players for the regional team. This team represents the best 18 players in the Midwest. For three years, I was lucky enough to be placed on that team.” As a member of the team, Amanda was faced with even more soccer obligations and travel throughout the year. During her sophomore year of high school, the Midwest Regional team traveled through Europe. They played teams in London, Italy, and other European locations. One of Camilli’s fondest memories was driving through the Alps. “I think we all thought we were going to die while we were up there being in a coach bus on small, winding roads,” Camilli said.
After years of hard work and dedication, Camilli eventually signed with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and enjoyed every minute of her time as a Panther soccer player. While a Panther, she was nominated multiple times to the Horizon League All Star Team and also voted as one of the best 11 players to ever play at UWM.
Camilli’s coaching experience began after college in Spring 2008 by joining the Milwaukee Kickers coaching staff. Her passion for coaching began at an early age and was formed by her personal experiences. “I’ve had fantastic coaches, but then I’ve also been coached by people who I think should not have been in the profession.” She believes there are not enough female coaches, and that it is important for youth female soccer players to see that they can become a coach as well. Additionally, as the only female coach on the Milwaukee Kickers full time coaching staff, Camilli believes that the connection between a female coach and female players is extremely valuable.
As a part of the Milwaukee Kickers team for seven years, Camilli still enjoys playing, watching, and coaching the sport whenever she can. When not at the Milwaukee Kickers, Camilli loves to read, though doesn’t have much time with her 19 month old daughter, Giada. In addition to her passion for reading and taking care of her daughter, Camilli loves taking her dog Bella to the dog park with her daughter, gardening, swimming in the Summer, and going up to her husband’s family cottage.
As a participant and supporter of the sport, Camilli is an avid fan of the Manchester United professional soccer team who she was introduced to by her older brother’s viewing their games at home. She watched the team through its glory years with Sir Alex Ferguson and, although it has been a difficult couple of years for the Red Devils, she is still a diehard fan.
Camilli is of the mentality that there is always room to grow and learn as a coach and a person. During her practices, she tries to bring fun and lightheartedness to the training because she believes that youth soccer players need that at all ages. “There is definitely a time to be hard and intense, but kids these days are starting to burn out. They need to know you care and that you want to be there with them,” said Camilli.