U.S. women's national team head coach April Heinrichs has named former U.S. goalkeeper David Vanole to her staff as goalkeeper coach while Jan Smisek and Janet Rayfield have been appointed to the women's national staff coaches positions for Region IV and Region II, respectively.
Smisek and Rayfield join Jeff Pill (Region I) and Dave Simeone (Region III) as part of Project Gold, a 10-year plan designed to keep the U.S. women on top of the world. The women's national staff coach is one of the key components of Project Gold. The role of these individuals is three-fold: 1) to help develop players, 2) to work with the Olympic Development Programs across the country to identify players and 3) assist in coaching education.
Vanole takes over a job handled by Tony DiCicco since 1990. DiCicco served as the U.S. women's national team goalkeeper coach from 1990-94, and then continued in that capacity while also serving as the head coach from 1994-1999. Vanole earned 14 caps for the U.S. national team from 1986-'89, starting all 14 games, and was the starting goalkeeper for the USA in five qualifying matches for the 1990 World Cup before giving way to Tony Meola due to a severe leg injury. Vanole will work full-time with the U.S. women through the Olympics.
"David has a tremendous pedigree in the world of goalkeeping," Heinrichs said. "His experience in world championship tournaments is extremely valuable. I've already seen our goalkeeper's competitiveness elevate during training since Dave's arrival in residency camp."
Vanole was a back-up on the 1990 World Cup Team in Italy, but played a key role in qualifying when he saved a penalty kick against Costa Rica on April 30, 1989, in the 90th minute to preserve a 1-0 victory in St. Louis. Vanole held his ground on the kick, which was driven just to his right, saving the shot with his neck and upper arm. The save in the USA's fourth qualifying match earned valuable points for the USA, which proved priceless when Paul Caligiuri's "Shot Heard 'Round World" against Trinidad and Tobago qualified the Americans for Italy.
Vanole also played nine times for the U.S. Olympic team, helping the team qualify and then started all three matches at the 1998 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. A member of UCLA's 1985 NCAA championship team, Vanole has served as the goalkeeper coach for the UCLA men's and women's teams for the past five years, helping the Bruin men win the NCAA title in 1997. He was also the goalkeeper coach for the U.S under-20 men's national team at the FIFA World Youth Championships in Nigeria last year.
Smisek is one of the pioneers of the women's game in the United States. She started the women's soccer program at UC Santa Barbara in the late 1970s and went on to become the first woman to earn a USSF "A" License, that coming in 1982. She has been full-time with U.S. Soccer since 1996 serving as the Under-14 National Coaching Coordinator. She has served as head coach for Region IV ODP girls and amateur women as well as an Olympic Development coach for the state of Washington from 1982-96. She served as the head women's coach at Evergreen State College from 1992-96 and also coached Forest Ridge High School from 1985-92, winning a state title in her final season. She also participated as a player in the early years of the women's national team program.
Rayfield played at the University of North Carolina from 1979-82, playing on the Tar Heels' first NCAA championship team. Rayfield served as the head women's soccer coach at the University of Arkansas from 1993-98 after serving as an assistant coach from 1990-92. She served as the state Director of Coaching for Arkansas girls ODP and a Regional ODP staff coach. Rayfield also served as a scout for the U.S. women's national team for both the 1995 women's World Cup and 1996 Olympics.
"Janet Rayfield and Jan Smisek bring a vast amount of experience to their position as national staff coaches," added Heinrichs. "They both have worked on all levels of women's and girl's soccer in the United States, coaching college, club, high school, state and regional ODP levels. Their work ethic and knowledge will be invaluable to the women's national team program at all age levels."
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