The Houston Dash have hired veteran coach Lisa Cole to join head coach Vera Pauw’s technical staff as an assistant coach, the club announced today. Cole will start immediately and assist Pauw in preparation for January’s NWSL College Draft.
“I am delighted to have found an experienced female coach with an extensive network in America,” Pauw said. “I know that many coaches bring their own assistants, but so far I have always chosen to work with a local assistant. An assistant should fill the gaps that a coach brings with her or him; only then can an assistant truly add value to the team. Lisa is an expert in college soccer and knows the NWSL really well. She will bring a lot to our team beginning with the draft.”
Cole joins the Dash after two years with the Papua New Guinea U-20 Women’s National Team. The former Boston Breakers head coach brings more than 20 years of experience coaching elite youth, college and professional clubs throughout the country. Pauw served as the head of the FIFA technical study group during the 2016 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea, which coincided with Cole’s tenure with the host nation.
“I have seen her working with Papua New Guinea. Her perseverance and enthusiasm for the players touched me. They were the underdogs in this tournament, yet Lisa achieved to keep players motivated and they gave the best they had. She kept adding structure to the team while supporting her players continuously in a very calm way, under a lot of pressure as the host nation,” Pauw said. “That is exactly the atmosphere we need in Houston. In the heat and humidity, we need warriors on the pitch and a staff that goes that a little further than the heat and the pressure allows you to. Lisa will undoubtedly go above and beyond. And there is one more thing that is important: I like her as a person. Modest but clear in what she wants. I am looking forward to work with her."
Cole began her collegiate coaching career in 1997 with the University of Mississippi and reached the SEC Tournament final for the first time in program history in 1999. Cole then spent three seasons at the University of Connecticut, where the Huskies reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA women’s soccer tournament in 2000 and 2002. Cole reached the A-10 Tournament semifinal the following year when she joined the University of Rhode Island as the head coach. Cole joined the Florida State University women’s soccer coaching staff in 2004 and helped guide them to the NCAA College Cup Final Four.
“I am thrilled to join Vera in Houston. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Cole said. “To be able to work with a coach at her level is very exciting. I am also looking forward to being back in the league and on the field with professionals every day in an organization that is committed to growing the game.”
The new assistant coach holds an USSF A coaching license and advanced degrees from United Soccer Coaches, formerly the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The former goalkeeper graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, where she tallied the most single-season saves in program history with 140 in 1996.
In addition to her work on the field, Cole has served on numerous technical advisory and empowerment/diversity committees like the NSCAA Women’s Committee.