April Heinrichs Named Head Coach of the U.S. Women's National Team
NEW YORK (Tuesday, January 18, 2000) - The U.S Soccer Federation today named April Heinrichs as the new Head Coach for the U.S. Women's National Team. Heinrichs becomes just the fourth head coach in the 15-year history of the program and first female to hold the position. She will also hold the title of Technical Director, in charge of overseeing the U.S. Women's National Teams on the Under-16, Under-18, Under-21 and full national team levels. Heinrichs replaces Tony DiCicco who held the position from 1995-'99.
Heinrichs captained the U.S. Women's National Team to the first-ever Women's World Cup title in China in 1991. As part of the devastating front line dubbed "The Triple-Edge Sword," Heinrichs along with Michelle Akers and Carin Gabarra carved up opposing defenses to kick-start a decade of world domination by the U.S. women. Heinrichs scored four goals in five matches during the 1991 Women's World Cup, retiring after the tournament with 38 goals in 47 career games spanning 1986-'91, her last international match coming in the 2-1 victory over Norway in the Women's World Cup Final.
Heinrichs, 35, served as an assistant coach to DiCicco on both the 1995 Women's World Cup Team and during the 1996 Olympics, when the USA won the first-ever gold medal for women's soccer. Heinrichs will leave her job as Head Women's Soccer Coach at the University of Virginia where she compiled a 42-24-10 record and four NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons. Prior to moving to Virginia, she was the Head Women's Soccer Coach at Maryland and holds a 116-70-18 overall college record. Heinrichs also coached the U.S. Under-16 National Team for the past three years, helping develop young talent that is starting to make an impact on the national team.
"I am thrilled to be the U.S. Women's National Team coach," said Heinrichs. "It's with great pride and pleasure that I take on this challenge. Being named the Technical Director for the U.S. Women's National Teams programs will afford me the opportunity to build on the solid infrastructure already in place. I know there's much to be done in the coming days and weeks and I'm looking forward to the first opportunity to get on the field with the players. That's where I'm most at home."
Heinrichs becomes just the third woman to hold a head coaching job in elite women's international soccer, joining Marika Domanski Lyfors of Sweden and Tina Theune-Meyer of Germany, who were the only female head coaches among the 16 teams at the 1999 Women's World Cup.
"There is no doubt that it was a difficult choice as we felt we had several very qualified candidates," said U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia. "But we also have no doubt that we made the right choice. April's energy, leadership and commitment to the U.S. Women's National Team programs are world class. We know she has the tools to help continue the tremendous success that our women have achieved in the international arena."
Heinrichs was the second woman and first female player to be inducted in the National Soccer Hall of Fame (1998). During her college career at the University of North Carolina, she guided the Tar Heels to three NCAA championships while scoring 81 goals with 57 assists, ending her career as the NCAA's all-time leading scorer. That record has since been eclipsed by three of her national team players: Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett and Danielle Fotopoulos. She was a three-time First-Team All-American and led UNC to an 85-3-2 record during her career.
"The team is very excited to have April as our coach," said U.S. co-captain Julie Foudy. "She is an unbelievable leader, motivator, and tactician. As a former captain and world champion with the national team, April is a proven winner. We look forward to training and working hard with her as we prepare for the Olympics."
Head Coach, U.S. Women's National Team
Born: February 27, 1964, in Littleton, Colorado
Hometown: Charlottesvile, Virginia
April Heinrichs, one of the pioneers of the U.S. Women's National Team program, was named Head Coach of the U.S. Women's National Team on January 18, 2000. She became a full-time assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Team in January 1995, serving on the coaching staff for the 1995 Women's World Cup and was a member of the coaching staff that led the USA to the first-ever gold medal for women's soccer at the 1996 Olympics.
She resigned her position as assistant coach for the national team following the Olympics, and in 1997, took over as the head coach of the U.S. U-16 National Team. She coached the U-16s for three years prior to taking the job as Head Coach and Technical Director for the U.S. Women's National Team programs. Heinrichs was the captain of the 1991 U.S. team which won the first-ever Women's World Cup, and along with Michelle Akers and Carin Gabarra, was part of the U.S. trio of strikers dubbed "the triple-edged sword" during the world championship run in China.
Heinrichs, one of the most tenacious and competitive players in Women's National Team history, is credited for setting the current winning mentality and tradition of the U.S. team. She finished her international career at the 1991 Women's World Cup with the 2-1 win over Norway in the final as her last game. She finished her career with 38 goals in 47 games. Heinrichs' goals-scored to games-played ratio is second in U.S. history only to Michelle Akers. She won the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year award twice, in 1986 and in 1989, and she was voted female player of the 1980s by Soccer America magazine. In 1998, she became the first female player inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.
She played four years of collegiate soccer at the University of North Carolina and was named First-Team All-American three times. UNC captured three NCAA championships during that time and finished as runner-up once. Heinrichs completed her career at UNC as the all-time NCAA leader in points scored with 225 (87 goals, 51 assists), a record later eclipsed by Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Milbrett, and then this past season by Danielle Fotopoulos. North Carolina registered an 85-3-2 record during Heinrichs' playing career. Heinrichs became the first women's soccer player in school history to have her jersey retired when UNC took her #2 off the roster.
Heinrichs was named the women's head coach at the University of Virginia before the 1996 season and led the Cavaliers to four NCAA playoff berths while compiling a record of 52-24-10 with the Cavaliers. Prior to becoming head coach at UVA, Heinrichs served as head women's soccer coach at the University of Maryland since 1991. Prior to that she was the head coach at Princeton for one season. She has a 116-70-18 overall college record and holds a U.S. Soccer Federation "A" coaching license.
This year, she was named as the inaugural recipient of the NSCAA Women's Committee Award of Excellence for her outstanding long-term service and contribution toward improvement and advancement of women's soccer in the United States.