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Coaching Feb 11, 2021

University of Tennessee adds volunteer assistant coach Hemant Sharma

Hemant Sharma has rejoined the University of Tennessee soccer coaching staff as a volunteer assistant coach for the spring of 2021.

He previously served as a member of UT’s coaching staff from 2004 to 2012 and served as the team’s director of operations under current head coach Brian Pensky from 2012 to 2014.

In his previous stint with the Lady Vols, Sharma was a part of three SEC championship teams (2004, 05, 08) and three NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearances (2004, 2005, 2007). He also helped to coordinate the Lady Vol soccer team’s involvement in TOPSOCCER, a program for disabled athletes.

Between his stints at UT, Sharma worked with goalkeepers for several other Tennessee colleges, including the Maryville College men’s and women’s soccer teams, the UT-Chattanooga women’s soccer team, the Tennessee Wesleyan women’s soccer team and the Carson-Newman men’s and women’s soccer teams. He was a part of the Maryville College coaching staff when the men’s team won conference tournament titles in 2016 and 2018, and when the women’s team captured a conference tournament crown in 2019. Each of those teams appeared in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Prior to arriving in Knoxville, Hemant worked with goalkeepers for the University of Colorado women’s soccer team as a volunteer assistant coach.

Sharma has worked with goalkeepers for two semi-pro men’s teams, the Boulder Rapids Reserves of the Premier Development League, and the Knoxville Force of the National Premier Soccer League.

Hemant also has served as Director of Goalkeeping for the Tennessee ODP program for boys and girls since 2012, and has been a member of the South Region girls ODP staff since 2017.

He has been the Director of Goalkeeping for FC Alliance since 2009. During that time span, FC Alliance has produced more than 40 collegiate goalkeepers and sent two goalkeepers on to MLS academies.

During his playing career at Cornell University, the Short Hills, New Jersey, native earned All-Ivy League and All-Region honors, and played in the 1996 NCAA Tournament. In his senior year, he set a school record for shutouts in a season as his team finished ranked in the nation’s top 25. Sharma proved equally adept in the classroom as he was a member of the Dean’s List and the winner of the prestigious James E. Rice writing prize.

After college, Sharma was a draft pick of all three major professional indoor soccer leagues that existed in the U.S. in the late 1990s (NPSL, WISL, EISL). He was a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Blizzard of the National Professional Soccer League and a fifth-round draft pick of the Arizona Thunder of the World Indoor Soccer League. He played five years of pro indoor soccer.

Sharma also held coaching positions at his alma mater, serving as an assistant coach for the Cornell women’s team in 2001 and the men’s team in 2000.

Hemant is a 1997 graduate of Cornell, with a bachelor of arts in English and a certificate in Financial Management. He received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2009 and was the first recipient of the University of Tennessee’s Otis Stephens Fellowship, granted for excellence in the study of American politics.

Sharma currently teaches in the University of Tennessee’s Political Science Department and has co-authored three textbooks: An Introduction to the American Legal System, which was released by Wolters Kluwer publishers of New York; Administrative Law and Policy, published by Carolina Academic Press; and American Government: The Evolution of a Constitutional Republic, published by Great River Learning.

His published articles include one entitled “The Game is the Best Teacher,” which appeared in the United Soccer Coaches’ magazine Soccer Journal, and “Can’t Play Here: The Decline of Pick-Up Soccer and Social Capital in the USA,” published in a journal called Soccer and Society.

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