Randy Waldrum Named U.S. Under-23 WNT Head Coach
Long-Time Collegiate Head Coach Will Guide Oldest of the USA’s Five Youth Women’s National Teams
CHICAGO (Jan. 9, 2012) – Randy Waldrum has been named head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team, the oldest age group of the USA’s five youth women’s national teams. Waldrum takes over the program from Bill Irwin who had guided the team for the previous five years.
Waldrum, who is currently the head women’s soccer coach at the University of Notre Dame, is one of the most successful college coaches in history. His vast experience with college-aged players gives him a unique insight into this vitally important age group of players, many of whom have trained with the full Women’s National Team or are still in the running for potential call-ups.
“I’m truly honored to be named the new Under-23 Women’s National Team coach, and to wear the colors of our nation is a great source of pride for me and something I’ve aspired to for many years,” said Waldrum. “I can’t wait to get started coaching this age group, which is very important for the ongoing success and future of our Women’s National Team. I sincerely appreciate U.S. Soccer extending this wonderful opportunity to me.”
In 13 seasons at Notre Dame, Waldrum has guided the Fighting Irish to a 263-44-14 overall record while making it to eight NCAA College Cups and five national championship matches. He advanced to the NCAA College Cup in 2000, 2007 and 2009, had runner-up finishes in 1999, 2006 and 2008 and won NCAA titles in 2004 and 2010. His teams have won 11 Big East regular season titles and seven Big East tournament titles.
Waldrum has coached for 30 seasons in college soccer, including stints as the women’s and men’s coach at Tulsa and the women’s coach at Baylor, a program he started from scratch in 1995.
Waldrum’s career winning percentage is third all-time among women’s soccer coaches with 10-plus seasons on the Division I level and second among active coaches. He has coached players who have received 26 All-America honors, including numerous players who have appeared for the USA’s youth national teams and in the professional ranks and several who have earned full national team caps.
As a player, Waldrum earned all-district honors all four years of his playing career at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, graduating in 1981 as a physical education major and political science minor. He then played professionally for the Los Angeles Skyhawks and the Indianapolis Daredevils of the American Soccer League.
Players eligible to play for the U-23s in 2012 must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1989.
The role of the U-23s in the overall development of U.S. WNT players underwent some changes in 2009 with the start of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). Many of the players who were being kept active and in the mix for the full team by competing with the U-23s now had the opportunity to play in the league. Therefore, the U-23s generally focus on calling up a mix of professionals and college players in the early part of the year before turning attention to college-based players for the remainder of the spring and into the summer, as that time period falls during the heart of the WPS season.
Working along with WPS, the U-23s serve a vitally important role in helping bridge the large gap between college soccer and the national team.