University of Akron hires Jen Simonetti as women’s soccer head coach
“We are ecstatic to welcome Coach Simonetti and her family to UA to lead our women’s soccer program,” said Guthrie. “This was an extensive national search in which we ultimately found the right leader at the right time. Jennifer’s background as a former NCAA DI women’s soccer student athlete, experience as a professional athlete and proven track record as a highly successful coach were ultimately the perfect fit for us at UA.”Simonetti comes to Akron after three successful campaigns at Case Western Reserve University where she led the Spartans to a 30-7-3 mark since being named head coach in 2019.
“I would like to thank AD Guthrie, Sr. Associate AD’s Jackie Wallgren and Candace Smith for their diligence and support during the search process and for providing me with this amazing opportunity to lead the Zips women’s soccer program,” said Simonetti. “As a long-time native of Akron, Ohio, I have a strong affection for the University of Akron and the education and environment it offers our student-athletes, as well as the soccer programs specifically. With the development throughout the university, the incredible facilities and support provided for the program, and the vision AD Guthrie has for the athletic department, I am excited to work with our student-athletes to build a tradition of competitiveness and success here with the women’s soccer program. I am looking forward to the transition and challenge that lies ahead.”
This past season, Simonetti guided the Spartans to a 16-2-2 record en route to being named by D3Soccer.com as its 2021 National Coach Staff of the Year, while being honored as the United Soccer Coaches Division III Region VII Coaching Staff of the Year.
Simonetti led one of the biggest turnarounds in Division III, leading the Spartans to 30 victories and NCAA Tournament appearances in each of her two full campaigns, including setting or equaling the program record for wins each season. Case Western Reserve had one previous NCAA Tournament berth in program history prior to Simonetti’s arrival in 2019.
In 2021, CWRU reached the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, the furthest a Spartan women’s soccer team has ever advanced. The Spartans’ 16 wins set a new program-best en route to finishing second in the conference, their highest finish in program history. In addition, Case Western Reserve ended the year ranked 10th in the nation according to the United Soccer Coaches poll.
In her first year as the Spartans’ head coach in 2019, the Spartans advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament for just the second time in program history. The Spartans finished the season with a record of 13-5-1, including an 11-0-1 record in non-conference play. The 13 victories tied a program record for wins in a season with the 2011 squad.
Simonetti brings with her extensive experience as a collegiate coach to the Akron women’s soccer program, with stints serving as the Head Coach at both Eastern Oregon University (NAIA) and Marietta College, and making multiple stops as an assistant coach, including the University of Massachusetts Lowell (Division I), and Division III programs in Oberlin College, Westfield State University, Chatham University, and Marietta College.
A standout defender at the University of Dayton, Simonetti earned a spot on the NSCAA All-America Third Team as a senior in 2004. She also claimed the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year award as a senior and was a two-time all-conference first team selection during her time with the program. Simonetti was also a starting defender for the Cincinnati Ladyhawks of the W-League while in college. Simonetti graduated from Dayton with a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Physical Therapy and Exercise Science, has her USSF ‘C’ License, and has received multiple United Soccer Coaches Diplomas, including her Director of Coaching, and State and Regional Goalkeeping
She resides in Fairlawn, Ohio with her husband, Mark, and their three children, Sydney, Charlotte and Jackson.