National Champions Hall of Honor
January 25, 2014
University of North Carolina Women’s
35 Years of Excellence and Counting
The UNC women’s soccer team began as a club team established by students looking for high level competition. In 1977, they petitioned UNC Athletic Director Bill Cobey to take the club to the varsity level. Cobey asked Anson Dorrance, then the UNC men’s soccer coach, to assess the club’s ability to transition to varsity status. Dorrance was impressed by the team, then coached by Mike Byers, and recommended that the school form a varsity women’s soccer team. Cobey agreed and hired Dorrance as head coach, with Byers as an assistant, for the 1978 season. That year, the Tar Heels played essentially a club schedule, including games against high school teams. However, in 1979, the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, at the prompting of Dorrance and University of Colorado coach, Chris Lidstone, established a national women’s soccer program. At the time, UNC had the only varsity women’s soccer team in the Southeast and this allowed Dorrance to recruit the top talent in the region.
In 1981, he recruited one of the most talented freshman squads in the history of women’s soccer. Eight of those recruits won starting positions and took the team to the first, and only, AIAW national championship. This group would set the tone for Tar Heels soccer down through its history. As Dorrance recalls, “These were true pioneers. They were given nothing. They were accustomed to taking things and so they weren’t as genteel as the sort of young ladies we can recruit now…They were the sort of girls who would go downtown, burn it to the ground. But then, they were on time for every single practice and in practice they worked themselves until they were bleeding and throwing up. They had a tremendous commitment to victory and to personal athletic excellence. And for that I admired them because they were a tremendous group. And even though, off the field, I think they all hated each other, once the game began, there was a collective fury that just intimidated everyone they played.” (Wikipedia)
Building on that competitive drive, the Tar Heels went on to win the first three NCAA championships and dominated the sport for years to come. They won their 21st NCAA women’s soccer national championship in 2012. Seven players have been Hermann Trophy winners (National Player of the Year). Mia Hamm and Cindy Parlow won the award twice.
Through the 2013 season, the collective won-lost record over 35 years is 763-54-29. Through the 2013 season, the Tar Heels are 324-23-10 when playing at home.
|2004||20-1-2||9-0-0||Runner Up||Third Round|