After ten years, the Michigan women’s soccer team is starting anew.
Athletic director Warde Manuel announced Feb. 28 that Jennifer Klein will take over as head coach of the program, replacing Greg Ryan.
Klein, 33, comes to Ann Arbor with a considerable amount of coaching experience at every level. She first began as the head coach at Nevada-Las Vegas, then moved on to become an assistant coach at Washington State and Southern California, where she spent that past few years.
“Michigan has such great academic and athletic traditions and I can’t wait to be a part of it,” Klein said in a statement on MGoBlue.com. “I am really looking forward to coaching and leading the women’s soccer program as we work to pursue excellence both on and off the field.”
Klein was the youngest head coach in Division I women’s soccer when she was named the head coach of Nevada-Las Vegas’ program in 2010. In her first year, the Runnin’ Rebels saw their win total increase from five wins to 11, and set a school record with 38 goals.
During her four years as an assistant coach at Southern California, the Trojans amassed a 71-19-9 record and won the NCAA Tournament in 2016.
Conversely, the Wolverines finished last season 3-5-3 in Big Ten play (6-6-6 overall), and haven’t notched a win in the NCAA Tournament since 2013. Michigan didn’t reach the NCAA Tournament in either Ryan or original head coach Debbie Rademacher’s first three seasons.
With Klein’s hiring and her recruiting prowess, though, the Wolverines will look to buck trend. As the assistant head coach at USC for the last three seasons, Klein was in charge of recruiting for the Trojans. She should provide a boost in that department for a program that has struggled to attract a lot of top-end talent. While she was an assistant coach at Washington State, Klein also helped recruit 2014 Pac-12 Player of the Year Micahela Castain.
Klein also holds playing experience under her belt, and has been battle-tested in big games. From 2002-05, Klein played for Arizona, and was a captain in her final two years. In 2004, the Wildcats captured a Pac-10 Championship and made it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament the following year.
Between that and her recruting skills, better times could be on the horizon for the program.