Nevada has its next women’s soccer coach since Vanessa Valentine was named to the position, Nevada athletic director Stephanie Rempe announced Tuesday.
She was hired Monday night and made her first trip to Reno on Tuesday.
Valentine said Nevada could win and have the players in place to turn the corner in the program.
She met with the players on Tuesday.
“It was so great to see her hunger, her hunger to want more,” she said. “They are right there with me in terms of wanting to win.”
She said they can expect to work hard.
“Nothing in collegiate athletics is ever easy,” she said. “Especially in a conference like Mountain West, it’s a battlefield. Every single game will be a struggle. But if you look at these girls’ records over the past few years, they’re a goal away. … There has never been a blowout. “
Valentina said recruitment will begin Friday in Southern California and next week in Tennessee. She said that players come onto the field and want to succeed.
“I like recruiting,” she says. “It allows me to travel and all my friends are soccer coaches, so I can go to a soccer field and hang out with my friends and watch girls and do what I love.”
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Valentine was Cal’s assistant coach last season and played professional football for 10 years.
She helped Cal to a 10-win season and a bid for the NCAA tournament last season. She also helped three Cal players earn All-Pac 12 honors.
Prior to her year at Cal, Valentine was the head coach of the LA Galaxy San Diego women’s Premier League team.
Valentine, 39, also spent two seasons in 2017 and 2018 as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Oregon State.
During the 2016 season, Valentine led Seattle Pacific to an 11-5-4 record and a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Valentine also trained at Cal Poly Pomona both as an assistant coach and later as a head coach. She helped Cal Poly Ponoma to a 15-6-1 record in her first year as an assistant, a nine-win improvement from the previous season. This performance helped Cal Poly Pomona qualify for the round of 16 of the NCAA Division II tournament and earn a 16th-best finish in school history.
As an assistant head coach at Cal Poly Pomona the following season, Valentine led the Broncos to a 9-7-2 record. Valentine’s first coaching job was at Hope International in 2011 and 2012, where she helped the Royals go three wins from their freshman season to their sophomore season. She also helped Hope International in a historic offensive performance from September 17–24 in which the Royals scored 26 unanswered goals in consecutive wins. “I’m incredibly honored to be named head coach of women’s soccer in Nevada,” said Valentine. “I look forward to helping the Pack thrive on and off the field. I am committed to building connections with the Reno community and helping this program reach new heights.” As a player and three-time captain for Cal State Fullerton, Valentine was a three-time All-Big West honoree. Valentine played professionally in the WPSL for 10 years, spending time with Beach FC, the LA Strikers, San Diego United and the Colorado Force.
She also played one season with Philadelphia Independence of the National Women’s Soccer League. Valentine currently plays for the United States national beach soccer team, having represented her country in Russia and El Salvador. She graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2006 with a BS in kinesiology and a major in exercise psychology.
She will become the eighth head coach in Nevada women’s soccer history. She replaces Erin Otagaki, who was fired in early November.
Otagaki served as the Wolf Pack’s head coach for seven seasons (2016-22), including 2016 as an assistant head coach with Casey Tate.
The Wolf Pack football program has only two winning records in its 23 seasons since its inception in 2000, 2005 and 2006.
Last year, Nevada went 3-12-3 overall and 2-8-1 in Mountain West Conference games and finished 11th out of 12 teams.
Jim Krajewski covers high school and youth sports for the Reno Gazette Journal. Follow him on Twitter @RGJPreps. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.