"Vela Soccer Academy challenges kids -- even young ones -- and brings their play to a whole new level."
-- Christine Smith
"My son has always loved soccer, but now that he's been playing futsal, he loves it even more. The environment is competitive but also very supportive, which is perfect for soccer. And the kids respect each other no matter their skill level or age... It's so amazing to watch these kids play. Futsal has completely changed how my son plays soccer: He is much more confident in his skills and technique. Most importantly, HE LOVES IT!"
-- Carrie Khalsa -
Former UNM Student/Athletes’ and Peers Testimonials
"Kit was my head coach for two years at the University of New Mexico. I struggled with perfectionism, limiting my performance of the field for years as a player. Kit identified the problem, which I had not been aware of, fully. Kit suggested using visualization as a method to reset my reaction to making mistakes during games. Kit worked with me before each game to visualize making a mistake and coming back to continue playing unshaken and strong. The work was life changing for me. I began playing at a level I never had before and my mind was no longer the limiting factor in my performance. Kit and the visualization practice enabled me to achieve new heights - I became team captain and had a very successful collegiate soccer career - this would not have been possible had Kit not worked with me to learn such a powerful methodology for performance improvement. As a physician, I continue to use visualization to help me achieve my peak performance. Kit is a life changing coach and mentor who knows how to enable players to be achieve their personal best."
-- Michelle Longmire, MD, UNM ‘03, Attending Physician at Stanford Medical
"Kit develops young adults into strong individuals. She provides mental tools that allow her students to thrive in any athletic or academic setting, and ultimately prepares them for future real-world situations. Her ability to discover what makes an individual motivated is a unique talent--she connects all the dots and helps transform a person's potential into a reality. As one of Kit's college athletes, I experienced four years of her leadership and guidance. I witnessed countless teammates grow confidently over their college years because of the mental edge Kit adds to athletics. I would not be the disciplined, confident, successful woman I am today without Kit Vela in my life. She gives you the wings to fly, and all you have to do is jump."
-- Brooke Ellison, UNM ’14, Working on Masters in Nutrition at Long Beach State
“Kit goes above and beyond the role of ‘head coach’ and truly attempts to understand her players. She created a culture with the women’s soccer team at the University of New Mexico that developed not only the student-athletes’ playing ability, but far more importantly their character, habits, work ethic, and leadership abilities. This emphasis on mental development throughout every training session accounted for much of our success on the soccer field and in the classroom. Kit recognizes that an athlete’s achievement on the field results from so much more than talent and tactical ability alone, which sets her apart from many other college coaches. I grew immensely as an individual and team player throughout my time playing for Kit, and I continue to apply these lessons every day in life outside of the soccer world.”
-- Brianna Webster, UNM ’14, Working in California as a Career Specialist
“Kit helped me gain a lot of confidence in leadership both on and off the field. Her dedication to communication and making others feel important helped players gain confidence in taking charge in a variety of situations.”
-- Kristen Winters, UNM ’06, CPA for Colorado government
“I was a member of Kit’s women’s soccer team for 5 years at the University of New Mexico. Throughout my career, I not only competed at a high level, but I also was in a rigorous MBA program. Kit provided me the tools to succeed, but more importantly, she provided her support and her confidence in me that allowed me have faith in my own success. If it were not for Kit, I would have never been able to have the mental toughness and discipline to manage a demanding athletic and academic schedule. As a coach, Kit excelled at uniting the team to fight for a common goal and leading us to believe in ourselves and each other. Additionally, she had the gift of building up players who needed the encouragement and assistance to develop mentally and physically. Under Kit’s leadership, I gained invaluable skills and developed not only as an athlete, but also as a young woman.”
-- Kelli Cornell, UNM ’13, Working for a Fortune 500 Company in California as well as coaching high school soccer at her Alma Mater
“Kit Vela was my coach for four years at the University of New Mexico. During this time, she helped to transform me from a timid, young girl into a strong, young woman in both soccer and life. As a coach, she helps players push themselves to the next level and to believe in their own abilities, as well as to not settle for mediocrity. Personally, she helped me believe that I could accomplish my dream of becoming a professional soccer player, which I did not previously believe was a realistic goal. I have succeeded and am currently playing overseas in Finland. She is an exceptional coach and she had an incredible impact on my soccer career and on my life.”
-- Amanda Collins, UNM ’12, Playing professional soccer for the second year in Finland
“Douglas MacArthur said ‘A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.’ This summarizes the leadership skills and veracity of Kit Vela. She is a results-oriented but also has a keen eye for detail and the unique quality to adjust plans in order to achieve her goals. She leads by example and actively demonstrates her priorities for respect, hard-work, persistence, tenacity, and integrity. Vela set high expectations for everyone around her, but is encouraging and supportive in helping individuals fulfill their potential.”
-- Lisa Gilmore, Director of Compliance at UNM