Ambrose Announces Staff Addition

Stacey Balaam named assistant after six seasons as head coach at West Georgia

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt head soccer coach Darren Ambrose announced Thursday the hiring of Stacey Balaam as assistant coach.

Balaam joins the Commodore staff after serving as head coach the last six seasons at West Georgia, where she helped guide the Wolves to 40 victories during that span highlighted by the program’s first-ever berth in the Gulf South Conference Tournament championship match in 2021.

“Stacey has been a part of winning traditions at each step of her coaching journey from a player to her current role as head coach at West Georgia,” said Ambrose. “It was easy to see that her personality and player-centered approach to her craft would be an ideal compliment to our staff. She has experience in leading her own program and has shown in her tenure at West Georgia she knows how to create and build a positive culture.

“Stacey is a fantastic addition to our staff and we are excited about the leadership, experience and energy she will bring to West End, as we continue to compete for championships and provide a first-class environment for our program”

In all, Balaam guided West Georgia to four appearances in the GSC Tournament during her time with the program after the Wolves returned to the event last fall. During the 2021 season, she led West Georgia to a 9-8-2 record overall and a 7-6 mark in league play. The Wolves also reached the GSC Tournament each of her first two seasons at the school, going 7-7 in conference action in 2017 and 7-5-1 the following fall.

Balaam previously was an assistant at North Georgia for six seasons, helping the school go 91-24-10 overall while making five NCAA Tournament appearances in that time. Her efforts helped the Nighthawks achieve the school’s highest national ranking in program history after climbing to No. 2 in the NSCAA poll in October 2015, while the following season they advanced to the Southeast Region final in the NCAA Tournament. She also has two season experience as an assistant at Montevallo.

“This is a dream opportunity to work at Vanderbilt University with the women’s soccer program,” Balaam said. “Darren Ambrose and his staff have built a winning culture and there is a clear vision for what they want to achieve. I am really excited to be a part of that. I am grateful that Darren believes in my abilities and I am eager to contribute and add value to the program.

“I would like to thank everyone at University of West Georgia for providing the platform for me to get where I am today. And specifically acknowledge the past and present players in the soccer program for their dedication and what we accomplished together, I wish them all the best moving forward.”

A 2008 Montevallo graduate, Balaam was a three-year captain and Team MVP and would end her career tied atop the school’s all-time scoring list. She earned all-conference honors all four season, was named all-region on three occasions—highlighted by being named the region player of the year as a junior—and was a two-time All-American. She was a member of the Atlanta Silverbacks team that won the 2011 W-League championship, going on to serve as the team’s captain each of the next two seasons.

Balaam was elected to Montevallo’s Hall of Fame and was also named to the Gulf South Conference’s All-Time Team.

Originally from Suffolk, England, Balaam was a member of the U19 national team prior to the start of her collegiate career. She also has served as a U.S. youth soccer scout, helping identify players to evaluate and train at National Youth Training Centers, and was a member of the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer South Region Advisory Committee in 2019.

The Commodores are coming off a season in which they went 12-5-4 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last six years. Vandy ended the campaign ranked 23rd in the final TopDrawerSoccer poll.