NMSU Soccer Coach Needham to Leave to Rhode Island

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 6:54pm

Michael Needham has been named the seventh head coach in the history of the University of Rhode Island's women's soccer program, it was announced today by Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn.

Needham, a 1996 graduate of the University Rhode Island, returns to Kingston after a two-year stint as head coach at New Mexico State in which he oversaw the start of the Aggies soccer program.

"We are very excited about having Michael Needham return to URI to lead our women's soccer program," said Bjorn. "He is a proven winner with a passion for URI soccer. I believe our women's soccer program should compete year-in and year-out for an A-10 championship and the NCAA tournament. I am very confident that Michael is the person that will be able to achieve those goals for the University of Rhode Island."

In two seasons in Las Cruces, Needham guided the program to 16 wins, including a nine-win campaign in the program's inaugural season in 2009. That season, Needham guided NMSU to the postseason, entering the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament as the fifth seed. The Aggies finished the season ranked No. 15 in the NCAA in attendance, averaging 1,129 fans for seven home matches.

"I would like to thank Thorr Bjorn, Sue Bergen, and the search committee for their confidence in my ability to lead this program," Needham said. "The University of Rhode Island has always been close to my heart, and the opportunity to come back to Kingston as a head coach is one that I have always been preparing for. I believe in the University and the community and know that we can do special things in the soccer program at URI."

Under Needham, several New Mexico State student-athletes earned All-WAC honors. In 2010, midfielder Crystal Burns was a second team all-conference selection, while in 2009, goalkeeper Katie Graul was a first team selection and midfielder Jazmin Cardoso earned second team honors.

Needham's teams at New Mexico State were also successful in the classroom. The 2010 squad earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award, after posting a team GPA of 3.33.

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