University at Albany announces Leigh Howard as women’s soccer head coach
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany has announced that Leigh Howard will take over as head coach of the women’s soccer program.
“I am incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to join the Great Dane family,” said Howard. “I have enjoyed the past two seasons at Marist and am forever grateful for the people I’ve met there and players I’ve coached. I’m looking forward to continuing to foster a culture of success both on the field and in the classroom, here at UAlbany. I want to thank Mark Benson, Cara White and everyone else at UAlbany for welcoming me into such an amazing opportunity.”
“We are very excited to welcome Leigh Howard to UAlbany and add her to our Great Dane family,” said UAlbany Director of Athletics Mark Benson. “The success she brought the Marist women’s soccer program makes us confident that she is the right fit to take over and continue the success that our women’s soccer team has enjoyed in the last few years since becoming a regular title contender.”
Howard spent the last two seasons as head women’s soccer coach at Marist College, leading the Red Foxes to an 18-16-4 overall record. In her first season at the helm, Howard was named MAAC Coach of the Year after seeing her Red Foxes clinch the two-seed in the MAAC Tournament behind a 7-2-1 conference record, an increase of two victories from the year before. She followed up her first-year performance with the same 7-2-1 MAAC record in year two, again clinching the two-seed in the MAAC Tournament.
While at Marist, Howard coached four All-MAAC players, and 23 of the Red Foxes during her stint earned MAAC All-Academic honors.
Before Marist, Howard worked as an assistant coach at Bucknell University from 2015-17. Compiling a 39-17-5 overall record over her three seasons, the Bison made two consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. In 2016, Howard was part of the staff that earned NSCAA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year Honors. Her performance with the Bison saw Howard named to the United Soccer Coaches’ 30 Under 30 Program in 2017.
Howard began her coaching career at her alma-mater, Trinity College, where she was an assistant from 2012-14 following her graduation. As a coach, Howard saw her Bantams earn a program-high 13 victories, including the program’s first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament. The 13-win team was the top-ranked team in the New England region for part of the season, and finished the season ranked in the national top-25 for the first time in history.
Beyond her collegiate coaching career, Howard has worked as the head coach with the FSA FC United ECNL U18 club team, and has been an assistant coach with the Connecticut Olympic Development program.
Howard graduated Trinity College in May, 2012, having played four years of soccer. She tied the single-season program record with 26 points during her sophomore season. Howard was Trinity’s only four-time All-NESCAC selection, and departed the program ranking third in history with 69 points.
Howard has taken two trips abroad in association with soccer. First, in her junior year at Trinity, Howard interned in Cape Town, South Africa, with Amandla EduFootball, where she organized and supervised leagues in 11 children’s homes in the city. Two years later, in 2013, Howard visited Grenada, Nicaragua, as part of the Soccer Without Borders program.
Howard earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2012, and her master’s degree in American Studies in 2014, both from Trinity College.