Women’s head soccer coach signs multi-year extension
THE SANTA CLARA
February 13, 2014
One of the winningest coaches in women’s collegiate soccer history will continue as Santa Clara’s leader on the sideline for several years to come.
On Wednesday, the Athletic Department announced it had reached an agreement to extend Jerry Smith’s contract for seven more years. The women’s head soccer coach wrapped up his 27th season at the helm in the fall, finishing with a 16-4-2 overall record and a “Sweet 16” appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m excited about the opportunity here at Santa Clara and I’m excited about the difference I can make here for women’s soccer in our athletic department and for the university community,” said Smith.
In recent weeks, the Broncos’ head coach was courted by the University of Notre Dame to take a vacant head coaching position, but Santa Clara fashioned a deal together and Smith accepted. After his new extension expires in seven years, Smith has a personal three-year option on the table.
“My family and I feel very blessed,” said Smith. “We feel very thankful that so many things were done in such a quick manner to make this happen.”
Junior Sofia Huerta, a captain on this past season’s squad, and her teammates were delighted to hear that their coach would be sticking around for the future.
“When he told us he was staying, although I think most of us (players) kind of thought that he would, we were still really excited and glad that he decided to stay with Santa Clara,” said Huerta.
During his time as head coach, Smith has developed the Santa Clara women’s soccer program into one of the most successful in the nation. Among his more prominent accolades, Smith eclipsed the 400-career-win mark back in early October, helped the Broncos win the national championship in 2001 and has coached his teams to 25 NCAA Tournaments in his 27 seasons as head man.
Away from the pitch, Smith will continue to serve the surrounding community. Wednesday’s announcement also declared that the 53-year-old will be the executive director of the Jerry Smith Coaching for Life Academy, a program that aspires to give student-athletes the necessary tools in order to succeed off the field.
“The thing that I’ve always been excited about as a coach is my responsibility in teaching life skills and leadership to young people,” said Smith.
The program, in collaboration with the School of Education and Counseling Psychology Dean Nick Ladany, will kick off this summer. Smith is excited about this new opportunity.
“We have to set (student-athletes) on a path that is going to greater ensure success and happiness after college, and that’s not about sport,” said Smith. “I’m thrilled that (Santa Clara) is going to afford me a platform to emphasize that part of what I do and to emphasize that as being a key component for all coaches in all sports.”
Huerta is grateful for the guidance Smith has provided her Bronco career.
“He’s just so knowledgeable and wise that on and off the field there are so many life lessons that I’ve learned from him,” she said.
Since taking the reins in 1987, Smith has mentored numerous athletes and prepared them to compete at the next level. Throughout his 27 seasons, Smith has seen 30 of his players go on to play professionally, including current Santa Clara seniors Julie Johnston and Morgan Marlborough, who were recently drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League. Additionally, 17 of his current or former players have played for their national teams on the international stage.
The Broncos will be back in action next fall, looking forward to defending their West Coast Conference title and hoisting the national championship trophy.
“My heart really is here at (Santa Clara),” said Smith. “My family and I are happy and thankful. And we’re motivated and excited about the opportunities going forward.”
Contact Brendan Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.