Updated Sep 2, 2004 16:44:49
Tech Soccer Hires Rich Stoneman as Assistant
When looking for an assistant coach for Louisiana Tech’s soccer team, head coach Jen Soileau and athletic administrators found exactly what they wanted in Rich Stoneman – a well-seasoned, experienced coach with a knack for recruiting.
Stoneman, who previously coached at Eastern New Mexico University, will join Soileau and the Lady Techsters for its inaugural 2004 season, and he is thrilled at the opportunity.
“I’m very pleased to be at Tech,” Stoneman said. “I wanted to get back in Division I women’s soccer, and I’m pleased with the opportunity to work with Soileau. She has a lot of playing experience, and I think we’ll be a good tandem combined with my coaching experience.”
While assistant coaching at Eastern New Mexico, Stoneman gained valuable experience of starting a men’s first year soccer program.
The Fayetville, N.C. native actively oversaw all aspects of recruiting the first team at Eastern New Mexico, who has 38 players arriving on campus in its first season, and he will have the same responsibility at Tech as his primary duties are recruiting and training goalkeepers.
Stoneman is well-equipped with a Level I goal keeping diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Advanced National Diploma and a National B License from the United States Soccer Federation.
Before his stint at Eastern New Mexico, Stoneman spent a year coaching the Dallas Texans Club Team and the Olympic Development Teams. In 2001-02, he joined the Baylor women’s soccer program and furthermore broadened his experience.
At Baylor, Stoneman was in charge of scouting, video analysis, broadening the Bears’ recruiting base and practice sessions. And while Baylor improved on the field, the Bears’ excelled in the classroom also, as the team compiled a 3.42 grade point average.
In the summer of 2001, Stoneman became the Coaching Supervisor for the Falmouth Football Club in Portland, Maine, where he supervised 12 soccer instructors, oversaw six teams and was in charge of over 220 players.
Furthering his experience on the collegiate level, Stoneman assistant coached at East Central University in Ada, Okla. during the 2000-01 season.
In that season, the Lady Tigers reached postseason play for the first time in school history and reached the finals of the Lone Star Conference Tournament, capping off East Central’s most successful season ever with 11 wins.
Stoneman’s first collegiate coaching experience came at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1999-00, where he again played a vital role in a team’s inaugural season.
However, before all the coaching positions held at different schools on the collegiate level, Stoneman began his career in high schools, clubs, summer camps and private lessons, and his playing experience paved the road to opportunity.
Stoneman played for Oklahoma Christian University from 1996-98 before joining the United States International Soccer League. In 1997, he was invited to combines of Major League Soccer teams Dallas Burn and Kansas City Wizards.
Stoneman’s long list of playing and coaching experience has widen his recruiting base and greatly increased his contacts, which Soileau knows is an important role to this new program.
“Rich’s main responsibilities are recruiting and training our goalkeepers, and he’s well prepared for his position because of his strong contacts in Texas and Oklahoma,” Soileau said. “A number of kids have already shown interest in us because of his connections and recruiting ability.”
However, Stoneman’s edge to recruit high caliber players is not solely in his connections – he says it is rooted in his honesty.
“I’m open with players,” Stoneman said. “To be a college athlete, you have to separate yourself socially to a greater work ethic. It takes a lot of time, dedication and sacrifice. I relate to the students and tell them my experiences as a player. Being a Division I athlete is not for everyone, and I let them decide.”
Along with his wide experience in recruiting, Stoneman also brings experience in beginning collegiate soccer programs as he did at East Central and Southwestern Oklahoma State, and Soileau hopes he has the same impact on Tech’s first year program.
“His experience beginning those programs are very important for us,” Soileau said. “We’ve had a late start here, and we’re behind. He’s been through the beginning steps, and he knows what it takes to build a program.”
Stoneman has twice led teams to successful, inaugural seasons, and now he has a third opportunity, as he joins Soileau and the Lady Techsters for the challenge ahead in 2004.