On Jan. 14, Michael Needham ’96 was named the seventh head coach in the history of the women’s soccer program. Needham returns to Kingston after a two-year stint as head coach at New Mexico State. “We are excited about having Michael Needham return to URI to lead our women’s soccer program,“ said Thorr Bjorn, URI’s director of athletics. “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 confident that Michael is the person who will be able to achieve those goals.”
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 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. Needham’s teams at New Mexico State were also successful in the classroom. The 2010 squad earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Award, after posting a team GPA of 3.33.