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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona soccer’s Bennett major contributor to coaching staff

UA womens assistant coach Tim Bennett
UA womens assistant coach Tim Bennett

A love of soccer and the desire to teach is what drove Tim Bennett to accept the position of associate head coach for Arizona’s women’s soccer team. The Arizona soccer team went 1-16-2 last season, and once the season finally ended last November, something needed to change.

Bennett joined the Wildcats’ coaching staff in January, bringing eight years of head coaching experience with him — which is exactly what head coach Lisa Oyen wanted to add to her staff.

“He brings great experience,” Oyen said. “He is a phenomenal recruiter and is good at training the team. Bringing Tim in, combined with Brian Permian [the goalkeeper trainer] and Danielle [Sunderhaus, the assistant coach,] has really been a huge positive factor in our program being successful this season.”

In 1996, Bennett took his four years of collegiate experience as a player at Providence College to Kentucky where he served as assistant coach for the men’s program for three years. Bennett then made a lateral move and took the position as assistant coach for the women’s team from 1999-2003.

In his seven years at Kentucky, Bennett helped lead the Wildcats to four NCAA Tournament appearances and the highest national ranking, at No. 9, in school history in 2000 and 2001.

In 2004, Bennett made his debut as a head coach at North Dakota, leading the team to a record of 14-5-2. He spent one season with the Fighting Sioux before accepting the head coaching position at Portland State for the next three years. In 2006, Bennett’s recruiting class ranked first in the Big Sky conference and 22nd in the West Region.

After a pit stop at Iowa State as the associate head coach, Bennett took a break from collegiate soccer in March 2009 to join the Dallas Texans Soccer Club, most recently earning the title U19 USYSA National Championship.

“I wanted to change how high school kids were being developed,” Bennett said. “Not a lot of coaches get the opportunity to coach at a club like that with the best girls in the country during their formative years. I wanted to produce better college players.

I knew I would return to the college game, but it gave me a different insight into recruiting.”

After three years, Bennett returned to coaching collegiate soccer at the UA and is already making an impact. The Wildcats are currently 5-5-2, and the players said they welcome his style of coaching.

“A lot of Tim’s drills have helped improve our play because we break the week down by working on a specific position each day,” senior Ariel Boulicault said. “All the girls really love Tim, and welcomed him with open arms. He is funny and you can tell he really cares about how we do.”

Bennett’s coaching philosophy is simple.

“I like to teach first and foremost,” he said. “I like all of our student athletes to know why they are doing something because the more they know why, the more they have control. The more control they have, the more empowered they become. That leads to building confidence and developing into better players.”

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