USU Eastern Soccer gets their coach
Ammon Bennett brings experience to USU Eastern after helping coach three successful college teams in Iowa
A new coach is in town and he brings with him an impressive background and coaching career to help kick-start a new program for Utah State University Eastern in men's and women's soccer.
Ammon Bennett comes to USU Eastern having coached at William Penn University, Iowa Western Community College and Iowa Lakes Community College. He brings a career coaching record of 278 wins, 138 losses and 25 ties.
With this new sport addition, USU Eastern is only the second team in the Scenic West Athletic Conference to sponsor soccer programs, the other being North Idaho College. Bennett said he welcomes the opportunity to build USU Eastern into a soccer powerhouse as he did in Iowa.
"The opportunity to serve as Eastern's first soccer coach is exciting," said Bennett in a USU Eastern press release. "I started both soccer teams at Iowa Western Community College and took the men's and women's teams to multiple region, district and national tournaments."
While in Iowa, he recruited hundreds of athletes away from his home state of Utah.
"Now I get to recruit them to stay here," he said. "Utah has the perfect players for the National Junior College Athletic Association level of competition and I'm hopeful to be nationally competitive very soon."
Bennett started his college soccer coaching career at William Penn University taking the women's team to three straight conference title wins and three national tournament appearances. The men's team would play for one title and would post the first-ever winning seasons under his tenure.
Following his time at William Penn, Bennett moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he started both soccer teams for Iowa Western Community College. While there, both his men's and women's soccer teams had equal success. Over a five-year period, the women's team won the region title four times, took home two district titles and played for the NJCAA National Championship twice.
The men's team won two region titles and played for two others. The team narrowly missed qualifying for the NJCAA Championships on two occasions coming up short in the District Championship games.
In 2011, Bennett moved to Iowa Lakes Community College where he was head soccer coach for the men's and women's teams. During his time there, the women's team rose to seventh in the nation and played for the region title. The team posted winning records each year, re-writing every record under Bennett's guidance.
"My wife and I are excited to be coming back to Utah," he said. "It is where both of our families are from. I know the quality of the people here and most certainly the quality of the athletes I've recruited from this state."
He said the response from high school and club coaches across the state has already been tremendous.
"This opportunity will allow soccer players to come to USU Eastern, get a great education and continue to compete at the collegiate level," he said.
Both the men's and women's soccer teams will play most of their games against opponents within the National Junior College Athletic Associations Region 9, which covers Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Eastern Montana.
Region 9 has 10 men's soccer teams and seven women's soccer teams.
"It is a great opportunity to sponsor soccer," said Dave Paur, USU Eastern athletic director. "We are hoping it will bring around 40 to 50 students."
While the college is not quite there yet, good progress is being made, he said. Each team will consist of a maximum of 11 players on the field at any given time, one of which must be the goalkeeper.
Preparation for the new soccer field is underway, including filling in the east and west sides of the field that currently collects too much water. In addition, the sprinkling system boxes located on the playing field are being moved to an area right beside the track.
Bennett earned a bachelor's degree in Physical Education with a K-12 teaching endorsement from William Penn University. While there, he was named outstanding student in the physical education program, graduated with honors and lettered in soccer, cross country and track.