Lopes named new head coach
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 01:03
Sam Lopes was announced as the new UNH women’s soccer head coach on Feb. 12, replacing former UNH head coach Michael Jackson.
Lopes played soccer at Quinnipiac University where he graduated in 2002. While a student at Quinnipiac, Lopes began coaching youth soccer, and it was at that time that his desire to coach became greater than his desire to play.
Lopes began coaching soon after graduating from Quinnipiac, as he started as an assistant at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn. for the 2002 season. Since Lopes started his career, he has seen stints as a coach in professional women’s soccer, as he has spent time with the Boston Breakers (2010-2011), who currently play in the National Women’s Soccer League, and the New England Mutiny (2007-2008), who play in the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite.
Last season, Lopes returned to the college ranks as an assistant coach at Providence College.
“Sam is a bright, knowledgeable, promising young coach who has put his time in at the assistant level,” UNH Athletic Director Marty Scarano said in a press release about the hire. “He shares a great vision for our program and is going to be relentless in establishing a soccer program of distinction at UNH.”
UNH will mark Lopes’s first time as a head coach. To Lopes, the decision to accept the job was based upon the great opportunity he felt the student athletes had here in Durham.
“UNH has a lot to offer for student athletes,” Lopes said.
Another reason Lopes took the job was timing.
“It felt like the right fit at the right time and right point in my career,” Lopes said.
Lopes has not spent much time at UNH just yet, but according to him the people, including the members of the women’s soccer program, have been very supportive in his transition.
Lopes takes over a team that went 5-12-2 overall before falling to Albany in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament, 2-1.
According to Lopes, he does not intend to change anything about the program. To Lopes, the UNH women’s soccer program will be getting “a fresh start under new leadership.”
Lopes will be looking to build on what the program has, with his sights set on winning the America East Championships.
“(I hope to) build upon tradition, excellence, pride and make the program better than yesterday,” Lopes said.