Known for recruiting locally and winning with local talent, Chris Cissell instills a sense of family in the teams he coaches. He has had success on the field and takes pride in the performance his players show both on and off the pitch, coaching a total of 38 All-Americans and 46 Academic All-Americans throughout his career. His UMKC team currently has a 3.63 cumulative grade point average.
In 29 seasons as a college head soccer coach, Cissell has compiled an overall record of 371-165-40, including a record of 257-116-30 in women's soccer alone, and 89-59-18 as the leader of the Kangaroos.
Cissell enters his ninth season in 2019 in charge of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women's Soccer after leading the Kangaroos to back to back Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships in 2018 and 2017. Cissell was honored with back to back WAC Coach of the Year honors after leading the program to back to back WAC regular season Championships.
2018 was a very special season for the 'Roos as they compiled an impressive 16-5-0 overall record -- a school-record for wins in a single season - including impressive wins over Power 5, Big 12 opponents Kansas State and Iowa State. UMKC entered the prestigious Pacific Region Rankings for the first time in program history and climbed all the way up to 8th in the Pacific Region with all of the PAC 12 programs. The Kangaroos swept the 2018 WAC honors and awards coming home with Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. UMKC placed 5 players on the WAC First Team All-Conference Team and 1 player on the WAC Second Team All-Conference Team. Three UMKC student-athletes went on to earn Academic All-Region honors and we had our first-ever Scholar All-American honor. UMKC had a program record, Four student-athletes earn Pacific Region, All-Region honors and had a player earn Freshman All-American honors for first time in program history.
Hired to lead the program in 2011, Cissell took over a struggling program in just its third season as a Division I team. Entering the 2011 campaign, the UMKC program held an all-time record of 2-33-3. His presence was felt immediately, as he led the ‘Roos to a record of 8-8-4 and an appearance in the semi-finals of The Summit League Conference Tournament, earning him The Summit League Conference Coach of the Year honors.
In the first season competing in the WAC in the fall of 2013, Cissell directed the team to a then-best record of 12-9-1 and took the team to an appearance in the WAC Tournament Championship, but fell to Seattle U in the final match. Leading the team to a program-best record, Cissell was named the College Sports Madness WAC Coach of the Year.
The winning trend continued in UMKC’s sophomore season in the WAC in 2014, where Cissell’s ‘Roos posted a 13-5-3 record, again a program-best, and found themselves runner-up in the conference tournament for the second season in a row. Cissell was again named College Sports Madness WAC Coach of the Year for his team’s performance in the 2014 season.
The ‘Roos winning ways continued in 2015, as Cissell helped lead the team to another program-best in the wins column, accumulating 14, while also landing a player on the All-Region team three seasons in a row.
In the spring of 2015, Cissell was named the Missouri Male Coach of the Year by Community for Coaches, an organization known for helping coaches live out a transformational purpose.
Cissell was also named a finalist for the Kevin Gray Awards Adult Coach of the Year in the spring of 2015, which recognizes the top soccer players and coaches in the Kansas City area.
In 2017, Cissell led the 'Roos to a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship with a perfect 7-0 conference record, earning the WAC Coach of the Year Award.
Prior to taking the reins of the UMKC women’s soccer program, Cissell spent 12 seasons filling multiple roles for both the men’s and women’s programs at William Jewell College (WJC) in Liberty, Missouri.
Named the women’s head coach prior to the 1999 season, Cissell took over a WJC program that held an all-time record 9-91-2 in seven seasons. He quickly turned the program around, finishing 15-6-0 in his second season at WJC and 18-2-0 in his third season, including a conference championship and a Sweet 16 appearance in the national tournament.
With the men’s program struggling during the first three seasons of Cissell’s tenure at WJC with a record of 9-44-2, he was named Director of Soccer and also took over as the head coach of the men’s program. It took just two seasons at the forefront of the men’s program to lead the team to a conference championship.
In a total of 12 years at WJC, 12 seasons as the women’s head coach and nine seasons as the men’s head coach, Cissell accumulated a combined record of 282-106-22, took the women’s team as high as number three in the national poll and the men’s team to the number one spot for two weeks in 2007 on his way to eight conference championships and nine national tournament appearances including three trips to the final four. Those three trips, two with men’s and one with women’s, made him the only college soccer coach in history to take a men’s and women’s program that far in the national tournament.
In his time at WJC, Cissell earned numerous accolades, including seven Conference coach of the Year awards, four Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors, three National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Midwest Coach of the Year award, three-time National Coach of the Year finalist and one NSCAA/adidas Men’s National Coach of the Year award.
Prior to his illustrious coaching career, Cissell was a celebrated player on the pitch for WJC. He was a four-year starter from 1990-94 and was named the Team MVP his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Cissell was the team captain and earned first-team all-conference honors his junior and senior years, and was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) Offensive Player of the Year his senior year.
Cissell held the WJC school record for career assists for 12 years (1994-2005) until his own player, Blake Ryan, broke the record in 2005.
William Jewell College honored Cissell in October 2015, inducting him into the WJC Athletics Hall of Fame as both a men's and women's soccer coach.
Cissell earned his B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in business administration from William Jewell in 1994. He is a Licensed, United States Soccer Federation coach and holds a National Soccer Coaches Association of America National Diploma.
Cissell and his wife, Heather reside in Liberty, MO. with their four children, Mitchell, Trevor, Zach and Sophie.