As we continue our “Fall Coach Fridays” series into the 2021-2022 school year, we will cover veteran coaches and introduce the newest head coaches of the Princeton Day School Athletics teams. Our first Fall Coach Friday spotlight of the new school year is Chris Pettit, a long-time admirer of Princeton Day School and head coach of the Girls Soccer team.
Chris Pettit spent much of his early soccer career playing in a semi-professional league in England. He always knew that he wanted soccer to be an important part of his life, as Chris explained in a recent interview, but after he had a pacemaker implanted at the age of 21 he was faced with a life-changing decision. It may not be the dilemma you’re expecting: he could either go to China and teach English or go to the United States and coach. His decision was to stick with what he loved—soccer.
Coach Pettit’s relationship with PDS is one that started years before he became the head coach for the Girls Soccer team. When he joined a program at the New York Red Bulls Academy as a 10-month coach, Pettit was placed with a PDS family in Princeton. “I was placed with a host family, who, at the time, had a son who was in Middle School at PDS,” he recalls. “I would regularly attend his sports events at the School, I remember Baker field from before it was turf!”
After the program with the Red Bulls Academy ended, Pettit renewed not only his contract with the program, but also his stay with the host family. “Ironically, when I was spending the summer at my host family’s beach house, I met my now-wife on Long Beach Island, and as we were getting to know each other, she informed me that her father had gone to Princeton Day School in the ’70s.” These connections would eventually lead to a phone call from Director of Athletics and Physical Education Katherine Fay, who had heard from quite a few people that he would be the perfect person to lead the Girls Soccer team for the 2021-2022 season.
“I’ve known PDS from the outside, but meeting the faculty and staff here has really solidified that the world-class facilities are only part of the equation. The support that is available here from every member of the community, and the emphasis on not only the athletic success, but the academic and personal success for each student, was what really drew me to the School,” Pettit says. With an impressive resume and an undeniable passion for the game, he is joining PDS with a lot of support and some high hopes for this season.
“We definitely have some challenges ahead of us, especially in rebuilding the team as we graduated some very valuable players last year, but every one of those challenges is an opportunity to learn and grow,” Pettit says. He is ready for a season of growth and has already instilled the same drive to learn across his team of eager young players. “Soccer is the world’s game. There is so much you can learn about life from watching and playing. I feel so lucky that I get the opportunity to coach these girls. I’m most looking forward to watching them grow stronger as individuals and together as a team.”
To learn more about the team, including their roster and game schedule, visit the Girls US Varsity Soccer Team Page.