EOU names new women's soccer coach
Eastern Oregon University Athletic Director Anji Weissenfluh announced Monday that Samuel Thomas has been named the interim soccer coach for EOU for the upcoming 2014 season.
Thomas replaces Jennifer Simonetti, who stepped down last week to accept an assistant coaching position at UMass-Lowell.
"I am really excited to welcome Samuel to the Mountaineer athletic department," Weissenfluh said. "We are very fortunate to find a quality coach on such short notice. He comes highly recommended, is energetic, motivated, and driven to be a successful coach. It will be fun to watch him lead our soccer team this season."
Thomas brings a varied background of coaching experience with him to the position. Prior to his coaching days, Thomas was a goalie at Principia College in Elsah, Ill. He was a four-year starter for the soccer program and Thomas helped the team to the highest-ever national ranking when the Panthers were ranked eighth in 2009.
“I would like to thank Anji Weissenfluh and the Eastern Oregon University family for this exciting opportunity to be a part of the women's soccer program," Thomas said. "I am honored to be able to embrace a role with a team that has already laid the building blocks for success. The dedicated efforts of the administration, previous coaching staff, and former and current players have our team ready to hit the ground running. I am eager for the women to arrive so that we can begin developing our family and prepare for another season of progress."
After graduating college, Thomas accepted an assistant coaching position at Oregon Tech in 2012. Thomas coached goalies for both the men's and women's programs.
In 2013, he was the boys varsity assistant coach for Principia High School. He helped coach the team to a 13-2-1 record and five players off the team were named to the Missouri All-State Team, including the goalkeeper who held a 0.75 goals against average.
"As the interim coach, my goal for the program is to continue the improvement of both individual and team play in the pursuit of long-term excellence," Thomas said. "The established culture founded on hard work, teamwork, and success in all areas (academic, athletic, and extracurricular) will be our pillars for achievement this season. Having previously coached in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, I understand what it will take for the program to earn its position as a postseason tournament regular. The devotion from the players required to achieve this goal will not only result in tactical, technical, physical and mental growth on the pitch, but also invariably lead to maturation off the field. I believe that soccer is a perfect tool for character education — a window of opportunity for college athletes to learn how to apply on-field lessons to challenges off the field. My commitment to EOU and the athletic department is to give this team the tools it needs to succeed this season as well as in future seasons."