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Coaching Mar 26, 2020

Saint Mary’s College women’s soccer coaching staff finalized for 2020 season

MORAGA, Calif. — Newly appointed Saint Mary’s College women’s soccer head coach Theresa Romagnolo has filled out her coaching staff for the upcoming 2020 season with the announcement of three new hires that boast an exceptional amount of playing and coaching experience.

Sarah Stanczyk brings the most coaching experience of the trio as she’s been a part of a Div. I staff since 2012 and was most recently the head coach at Western Michigan in 2018. Stanczyk led the Broncos to a 14-7 record and a third place finish in the MAC standings. Her team had five all-conference players, one United Soccer Coaches all-region player, and a team GPA of 3.65.

Prior to Western Michigan, Stanczyk served as assistant coach at DePaul from 2014 to 2018 and spent the two seasons prior as a volunteer assistant at Michigan. DePaul was the Big East conference champions twice during her tenure there and the staff was named Big East Staff of the Year in 2014 after the Blue Demons went undefeated in the regular season.

Stanczyk played for two seasons at UConn and two seasons at Michigan as a defender. She also had a stint with FC Indiana in the United Women’s Soccer League. She graduated from Michigan in 2011 with a degree in psychology.

“Sarah brings a wealth of experience to this role and she’s had success everywhere she’s been,” said Romagnolo.

In addition to Stanczyk, Romagnolo will add another former pro and someone familiar with the Bay Area in Samantha Witteman.

Witteman graduated from Cal in 2016 and was a standout both on and off the pitch. Not only was she named a Third Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches and Pac-12 All-Conference First Team, she was also selected as a conference all-academic honorable mention twice while studying interdisciplinary studies with a minor in education. She tallied 14 goals and 16 assists as a midfielder in Berkeley including a team-best eight assists as a junior.

After her collegiate career wrapped up, Witteman played with the US Women’s National Team U-23 squad in 2016 and 2017 as well as a few seasons in the National Women’s Soccer League. She was drafted 10th overall by the Orlando Pride in 2016 and spent the following season with the North Carolina Courage. Witteman most recently served as a graduate assistant at Saint Louis for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The Bilikens went 35-8-3 during her time at the university.

“Sam is an up and coming coach,” explained Romagnolo. “She has played at the highest levels and will be a great mentor and coach of the game for our student-athletes.”

The final piece in the coaching trio is Jake Gleeson. Gleeson will act as the goalkeeping coach and brings nine years of professional playing experience with him. Born and raised in New Zealand, Gleeson played nearly a decade for Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers and spent 2011 to 2018 as a member of the Kiwis’ national team. In 2012, he suited up for his country at the Olympic Games in England.

In 2014, Gleeson won the USL Championship while playing on a loan with the Sacramento Republic and posted a shutout in goal to claim the title. He hoisted hardware the very next year as he returned to Portland and helped the Timbers win their first MLS championship in club history.

Gleeson has previous coaching experience with FC Portland as a goalkeepers coach and served as a member of the MLS Players’ Association. He graduated from Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand.

“Jake is a wonderful addition to our staff with his high level playing and goalkeeping background,” said Romagnolo.

Saint Mary’s returns to action this fall after the remaining spring exhibition contests were canceled due to COVID-19. The complete 2020 season schedule will be released in the coming months.