Rekdal previously managed Vålerenga from 2000 to 2006, during which he won both the cup and league title. He has also been in charge of Kaiserslautern, Lierse and Aalesund. During his time at Aalesund, the club earned two cup titles and saw a period of success previously unmatched in their history, which was attributed to Rekdal.
Rekdal started playing football for the local club Fiksdal/Rekdal in 1979, later as a 16-year-old he would start his professional career with the local Tippeliga club Molde FK, becoming the second-youngest player in the league. In 1988 he signed with the Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach and stayed with them for two years before moving to the Belgian Pro League side Lierse S.K. and remaining there until 1996, with the exception of the 1994 season which he spent on loan helping his former club Molde FK gaining promotion to Tippeligaen and winning the domestic Cup.
In 1996, he signed for Ligue 1 club Rennes. The highlight of his playing career was a highly successful spell at Hertha BSC in Germany between 1997 and 2000. His final years as a player and then player/manager was spent in Norwegian club Vålerenga, where he picked up another cup winner's medal in 2002 before retiring in 2004. In the summer of 2007, Rekdal officially rejoined his youth club Fiksdal/Rekdal.
Rekdal has proven himself a successful coach, leading Vålerenga from relegation in 2001, and famously weeping as his team avoided relegation the following year and back into position as one of the dominating clubs in the Norwegian Premier League. In 2004, he led the team to second place, losing the first place on goal difference to Rosenborg, and in 2005, his team finally won the league for the first time in 21 years, ending Rosenborg's 13-year reign as champions of Norway. along the way receiving legend-status in the club, partly due to the fact that he refused an offer of a six-digit coaching salary in order to help the club financially.
Rekdal resigned as coach at Vålerenga on 21 August 2006, following a string of poor results. He was appointed manager of his former club Lierse on 21 November 2006. When he arrived at the club, Lierse lay bottom of the table with only two points in fifteen matches. At the end of the season, they ended up with 26 points and avoided direct relegation. In the play-offs, Lierse only managed to win three of their six matches and were relegated to the Second Division after all.
He joined forces with Norwegian Premier League outfit Aalesund in 2008 after moving back to Norway. Joining the club mid-season, he found Aalesund lying in a relegation spot, but managed to get a relegation play-off spot, where Aalesund beat challengers Sogndal 7–2 on aggregate, thereby securing a new season in the Norwegian Premier League. In 2009, he led Aalesund to the club's first victory in the Norwegian Cup, where they beat arch rivals Molde 3–2 after a penalty shootout in the final. In 2010, he led the club to the fourth place in Tippeligaen, the club's best result ever. In 2011, he received wide praise when his club came close to the historic feat of qualifying for the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League, losing the last play-off game to the Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, having won the first leg 2–1. The same year he again led Aalesund to win the Norwegian Cup Final, thereby securing a UEFA Europa League qualification spot for the third consecutive year. His contract with Aalesund was terminated on 26 November 2012. After he won his second Norwegian Cup with Aalesund in three years, he was once again said to take over as national team coach after Drillo.
On 26 November 2012, the board of directors of Aalesund announced the termination of Rekdal's contract. The board stressed that it was not due to the season results, but rather as a result of a general review. Analysts noted that the sacking was likely a result of a power struggle within the club between Rekdal, the sports director and the chairman of the board.
Born 6 November in Rekdal in Vestnes, into a family of six, including three younger siblings, his younger brother Sindre played also professional with Molde FK helping them win the domestic cup in 1994. Among his interests and hobbies is freshwater fishing and card-games such as Poker, having competed in amateur tournaments internationally.
Rekdal moved to Ottestad neighborhood in Hamar in 2013, with his wife and four children.
During his time at Lierse, Rekdal had a clause in his contract which allowed him to keep up to date with Leeds United results at half-time intervals, via BBC Radio. He is a fanatic supporter of the Yorkshire club.
As with most coaches, Rekdal is highly superstitious. To avoid bad luck, he never appears on matchday without his locally produced trademark Pear-flavored soft drink.
Upon joining Aalesunds FK as coach, he also joined the tier five club Fiksdal/Rekdal as player and played regularly at their home matches, he stated that he wished to contribute to the club with which he started his career.
^"Rekdal og Aarøy får pokerkritikk" (in Norwegian). fotball.bt.no. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2013. Aalesund-trener Kjetil Rekdal skal sammen med spiss Tor Hogne Aarøy til Malta for å delta i en pokerturnering.
^ abKvatningen, Roy (1 October 2011). "KJETIL REKDAL – Jeg er en av få i verden" (in Norwegian). Nettavisen.no. Retrieved 22 April 2013. Vi møttes alltid klokka fire til mat, og kampene i Belgia går klokka åtte. Jeg satt med radio under middagen. Det fikk jeg lov til, smiler den 42 år gamle Leeds-fanatikeren