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Friday, June 14, 2019

History of Louisville Women's Sports: Chapter III -- Women's Soccer


Annnnnd.... we’re back with another edition of our summertime special here at Cardinal Couple: The History of Louisville Women’s Sports.  In our third edition we continue with the upcoming fall sports as we look at women’s soccer.

Once again, thank you to sources such as GoCards, UofL Libraries, the Courier-Journal, Wikipedia and other sources for the assistance and credit for the facts and numbers.

In 1985, UofL added women’s soccer to its list of Division 1 teams.  At the time they were not a part of a conference nor did they have a set soccer stadium.  Like field hockey, soccer played most of their matches early on in a field marked by coaches and staff members.

Chip Wilkinson was named the first UofL women’s soccer coach.  They won their inaugural match 12-0 over Eastern Kentucky.  That match still holds the program record for goals scored in a match and win differential.  The rest of that 1985 season wasn’t as successful as the team finished 8-9-0.  Wilkinson remained for two more years but never reached that eight-win mark again. 

Sandy Davis came in in 1988 and stayed for just the one year after going 6-11-0.

In 1989, UofL had co-head coaches for soccer in Melissa Mattingly and Jeff Yan.  The duo led the Cards to a 6-10-0 record that year.  Mattingly left at the end of the year and Yan stayed for two more years, but the program never found success.

Sam Asamoah entered in 1992.  He remained with the program for four years and led the Cardinals to their first ever winning season, an 11-7-0 record in 1993.  In his final season as head coach UofL made the transition to Conference USA.  Asamoah eventually left to focus on accounting.  He is now the president of Asamoa (no “H”) and Associates, CPA. 

Tony Colavecchia was head coach from 1996-1997.  His attention turned toward coaching the men’s team at UofL through 2005.  He is the all-time winningest coach for men’s soccer at UofL.  He is now on staff with SC del Sol, a large soccer club in Arizona that features over 50 teams and 800 players.

Karla Thompson entered the scene in 1998 and stayed for two years.  Louisville won one match during her time as head coach.  She is now a US Soccer coach educator in Phoenix.

Karen Ferguson (now Ferguson-Dayes) took over in 2000 and is still with the Cards.  She is entering her 20th as Louisville’s head coach and is the all-time winningest coach in program history.  Ferguson-Dayes oversaw the transition to the Big East in 2005, the AAC in 2013 and the ACC in 2014.  Ferguson-Dayes is married to Hylton Dayes, the head men’s soccer coach at Cincinnati and they have a son (Brandon) who can frequently be seen post-game on the Lynn turf...kicking the ball around with staffers and players. 

Cardinal Park opened in 2000.  Along with the soccer field, Cardinal Park was home to track and field, field hockey and softball.  Tennis was located around the corner and swimming and diving across the street.  Surrounding Cardinal Park is the red path known as the Jewish Hospital Cardio Path.  It served as home to both soccer teams through 2013.

The team moved down the road to Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium, one of the top soccer facilities in the country at any level for the start of the 2014 season.  The premiere facility hosts locker rooms for both teams as well as opposing teams.  It features state-of-the-art equipment and technology as well as an awning to provide shade and shelter from the weather for spectators during the match.  Besides host to many NCAA events Lynn Stadium has hosted USL matches.

Louisville women’s soccer has been one of the top programs at UofL in terms of international players, including recent players from Canada, England, Norway, Slovenia, Scotland, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland and Mexico.  Louisville has also had a recent spark in players from California as well as its strong pull within the Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana area.

Recent players to go pro out of Louisville include Gabrielle Vincent, Rachel Avant, Erin Yenney and Charlyn Corral.  There are plenty more on the current roster in good position to follow suit with Emina Ekic being the most well-known player (and Google certified- search “Emina Ekic”) to join the ranks. Mollie Rouse plays for England's U 20 World Cup squad and Chinyelu Asher is on  the Jamaican women's national team. 

Catch Paulie in the press box, Case and Jeff in the stands and myself on the field taking pictures.  If you have any soccer questions, I recommend you direct them to our soccer "expert" Case for the most accurate answer.  Head out to Lynn Stadium to cheer on the Cards in action as they hope to continue climbing in the ACC. UofL women's soccer opens play in 64 days with an exhibition against Butler University in Lynn Stadium.

Catch the A-team in action tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.  You can tune into 100.9 WCHQ FM, WCHQ Facebook page, or WCHQ’s website.  We are ever grateful for the WCHQ staff for allowing us to continue hosting The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour through them.

Happy Friday and Go Cards!


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