Neenah High School didn’t have to look far for its new head boys soccer coach as Activities Director Nate Werner has been selected to lead the Rockets’ program.
Werner replaces Harry Kelderman, who retired after 36 years and 603 career victories as Neenah’s head coach. Werner is in his third year as the school’s Activities Director and has a wealth of soccer coaching and playing experience.
“You don’t easily replace someone like Harry Kelderman, but we are fortunate to have one of the best soccer coaches in the Fox Valley right here in our own building,” said Neenah High School Principal Brian Wunderlich. “He is the ideal person to step in and lead our storied program.”
Werner coached the Appleton North boys soccer team for seven seasons from 2006-12. He also coached the girls soccer team at Appleton East from 2005-10 and the boys squad at Xavier from 2003-05. He coached Xavier to WIAA Division 2 state titles in 2003 and 2004 and guided Appleton North to a state runner-up appearance in 2010.
“Coaching at Neenah is a dream job for anyone affiliated with high school soccer and it is difficult to put into words how privileged I feel to have been chosen,” Werner said. “Although it will be difficult to follow a coaching legend, I was lucky to work with Coach Kelderman the past three seasons. He taught me so much about the game of soccer over the years and I hope to continue the success he achieved.”
A former standout soccer player at Appleton West High School who played collegiately at Division I UW-Green Bay, Werner taught social studies at Appleton East for 16 years before coming to Neenah. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Broadfield Social Studies from UW-Green Bay and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Concordia University in Mequon.
“There will undoubtedly be challenges with Nate coaching soccer in addition to his Activities Director duties,” Wunderlich said. “However, we have a great team of administrators and staff who are in position to help and we are extremely confident in Nate’s ability to succeed in both roles.”
Werner added: “I am fortunate to work with such an amazing administrative team, a wonderful administrative assistant and a supportive group of coaching colleagues who I know will help me as I take on this role.”
The Rockets never had a losing season under Kelderman and won 28 Fox Valley Association titles. They have the second-most state tournament appearances of any school with 16, including three state championships.