LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State Athletics Director McKinley Boston announced that Michael Needham has been named the first head coach in the history of Aggie women's soccer, Thursday, Oct. 30.
I am pleased to welcome Michael Needham as a new member to the Aggie Family, Boston said. "I am excited about what Michael will bring as leadership in building the women's soccer program at NMSU. I'm sure he will be a good fit in our community and especially the soccer community. His coaching background is outstanding and his vision is very consistence with what I have identified as expectations during this growth period over the next three years. Michael will recruit locally, within the state and west region and I'm excited about that strategy.
Needham brings a wealth of knowledge to NMSU including nine years of colligate coaching experience, four NCAA Tournament appearance and an impressive playing career. Needham now has the responsibility to build the Aggie program from scratch with the first game scheduled for the 2009 fall season.
I am impressed with NMSU's commitment to the community and their enthusiasm with starting a women's soccer program, Needham said. I am excited and look forward to the challenge of building this program from the ground up and a program that the community, who have already shown tremendous support, will be proud of.
I believe in the vision that Dr. Boston has for the athletic department and how women's soccer fits into that, Needham added. The potential at NMSU is unlimited. Our top priority is to have a recruiting presence felt across the state, region, country and internationally as we bring a high level of student-athletes to Las Cruces and NMSU.
Prior to NMSU, Needham was in his second year as the first assistant coach at George Mason. He had a hand in every aspect of the program, including on-field direction, budget responsibilities, daily program operations and the student-athletes' academic success. Needham was also the program's recruiting coordinator and the 2009 Mason signing class is projected to be ranked in the Mid-Atlantic Region and the Colonial Athletic Association.
During his two-year stint at George Masson, Needham assisted the Patriots in their return to the NCAA Tournament after a two year hiatus.
Needham joined the Mason staff after spending a pair of seasons as an assistant coach at UNLV, where he assisted the Rebels to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances after winning the Mountain West Conference title both seasons.
At UNLV, Needham's primary focus was working with and training the defensive unit. Through hard word and dedication, the 2005 squad only allowed 14 goals en route to a program-best 13 wins. Two Rebels were named all-region honorees, while an impressive eight players were named to the All-Mountain West Team.
Needham also made a solid impact in the recruiting department at UNLV as both recruiting classes were consistently ranked in the top five throughout the west region.
I have had the opportunity to work with two great collegiate coaches and athletic departments over the past four seasons Needham added. The experience I have gained has prepared me to build a championship culture at NMSU.
Preceding UNLV, Needham was an assistant for three seasons at Drury University, in Springfield, Mo. He also spent two seasons as an assistant at Rhode Island and one year as a volunteer assistant at Connecticut College working with the men's soccer team.
Needham also has extensive experience coaching outside the collegiate ranks. He worked with the Region IV Olympic Development Program as a staff coach and prior to that he was with the Nevada Olympic Development Program head coach.
He also worked with the Nuesport football club in Las Vegas and spent time at the United Soccer Academy in Delray Beach, Fla., as the Director of Coaching.
In addition, he was Director of Player Development for Lake Country Soccer, Inc. in Springfield, Mo., the senior coach/supervisor at the Goal 4Rams Soccer Camp in Kingston, R.I., and a high school coach for boy's soccer in Boca Raton, Fla.
Needham has obtained his United States Soccer Federation National ‘A' License, a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) 'Premier Diploma' in addition to an NSCAA- Advanced National Diploma with Distinction and an United States Soccer Federation National Youth Licensure.
He earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Rhode Island and a master's degree in physical education from Drury. Needham played professionally with the Municipal Goecechea, for the Costa Rican Premier League in San Jose, Costa Rica. At the collegiate level, Needham was a defender on the Rhode Island men's soccer team, which was a NCAA top 25 program.
What are they saying…
Kat Mertz, Head Women's Soccer Coach, UNLV, USA Women's Under-20 National Team Staff
New Mexico State is lucky to have such a fine head coach Michael Needham. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and passion for the sport. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious, which will only help in building a top program in the West.
Scott Juniper, Head Women's Soccer Coach, University of California, Irvine
Michael is one of the professionals in our sport. When you combine his drive and passion for the game with his level of professionalism, you surely have a success waiting to happen.
Diane Drake, Head Women's Soccer Coach, George Mason
He is one of the top assistants in the country. His commitment to excellence is in line with the culture of any winning program. He will be a tremendous asset to the NMSU Athletic Department and the city of Las Cruces.