Girls soccer: Juggling act for Carmel coach Kile during pandemic
An 11-month-old at home. Pregnant again -- a girl this time. A head-coaching career on hold.
An up-close view of how a novel virus is staggering our world.
But then, first-year Carmel Catholic head girls soccer coach Stephanie Kile is used to juggling, soccer balls included.
She's a young mom, young wife, young high school coach, young homeowner. She's also a young, full-time nurse during a time in our history when health care workers are needed to play OT, every day.
Behind Kile's mask is a game face.
"She is one of the most organized coaches I have been around in my 20 years as an athletic director," said Mark Pos, AD at Carmel in Mundelein. "She is always way ahead of things, so there is little to no last-minute questions or running around. She keeps me in the loop on everything."
Timeouts are few and far between for the unflappable and indefatigable multi-tasker.
"I put a lot of hours into planning and prepping for the (girls soccer) season," said Kile, who thought her Corsairs, before the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the IHSA spring sports season, could have been one of the best teams in the East Suburban Catholic Conference and made a deep run in the Class 2A state playoffs.
"Now, I'm trying to reorganize and hopefully use some of those things in the off-season and into next season. I'm trying to keep my stress level to a minimum for the health of my baby girl. I'm spending a lot of quality time with my husband and son going on walks and organizing various rooms in our new house."
Kile, the former Stephanie Swanson, played four years of soccer for Carmel (Class of 2008) before serving as an assistant coach at her alma mater for 10 years under John Halloran and then Ray Krawzak. She was the assistant coach in 2015 when Carmel's girls won state that spring, before the boys followed up by placing third that fall.
A challenging career
She has been a nurse for five years and works for Advocate Aurora Healthcare.
"I work on different inpatient units at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital; however, lately I have been mostly working with oncology and orthopedic patients," Kile said. "My job responsibilities include using critical thinking skills to assess and treat patients with various conditions. I administer medications and educate patients and their families on medications, procedures, and disease processes, amongst many other things."
She is not working on a designated Covid floor at the hospital during the pandemic but says there is always the potential to care for coronavirus patients. She and her husband, Tim, welcomed son Maddux last June. The couple's baby girl is due in September.
"I have been feeling great this pregnancy," Kile said. "When this pandemic started, I was very concerned because I was in the early stages of my pregnancy. However, I have an awesome support system at the hospital. My two managers, along with several others at the hospital, have been extremely understanding, supportive and accommodating. I'm proud to be a nurse during this pandemic and blessed to work for the organization that I have for the last several years."
A loyal Corsair
Pos is grateful to have Kile on his Carmel team. She impressed him during the interview process with her loyalty to Carmel and its soccer programs.
"She worked all day in a hospital and then would come to practice and games," Pos said. "You could see she had a great rapport with players on both (girls and boys) teams. For me, it was a great opportunity to hire a quality coach who would allow nearly a seamless transition and also had been part of the girls staff that won a state championship."
Even during the quarantine, and with the demands of her many responsibilities, Kile has found time to communicate with her Corsairs' soccer team regularly.
"She never seems to be rattled as she juggles everything on her plate," Pos said.
Kile aches for Carmel's seven girls who won't get the chance to play their senior season of soccer. But as the world spins, while balls do not, the nurse has good medicine for the soul.
"My message to the players is, 'You're living through history,' " Kile said. "Everyone will deal with this differently, but what's most important is that they don't let this negatively affect the progress academically and athletically they have made throughout their high school career. I'm reminding them to stay positive and hopeful that we will be able to see each other this summer."
And celebrate life.