Maroons head coach is first woman to win national championship
University of Chicago’s (UChicago) men’s soccer head coach, Julianne Sitch, became the first woman head coach of a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s team to win a national championship. Sitch led the Maroons to a Division III championship in her first year as a head coach at Chicago.
Sitch was hired as UChicago’s head coach in April 2022. Sitch led UChicago to a 22-0-1 record, making it a new school record for wins in a season. UChicago led the nation with a winning percentage of .978. The Maroons won the University Athletic Association (UAA) title with a record of 6-0-1. Sitch and her assistant coaches were named the United Soccer Coaches’ National Coaching staff of the Year, with USC Region VIII Coaching Staff and UAA Coaching Staff of the year.
The Maroons defeated Williams 2-0 to take home the national championship Dec. 3. UChicago’s defense had 13 shutouts all season and allowed 11 goals, and only one opponent was able to score more than one goal against this defense.
This marked Sitch’s return to the Hyde Park campus after being a part of the coaching staff for the University of Chicago’s women’s soccer team during the 2015-17 season. As the lead assistant coach, Sitch was also the program’s recruiting coordinator as she put together game plans, team scouts and organized team sessions.
Sitch helped lead the Maroons to its most successful multi-year run in program history. The Maroons finished the season with a record of 53-13-1 with a winning percentage of .798. The University of Chicago was able to reach the NCAA Division III championships all three seasons, and it also reached the semifinals in 2016 and the national championships in 2017.
The University of Chicago was voted as UAA Coaching Staff of the Year in 2016 and 2016, along with an NSCAA Central Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
Not only has Sitch coached for college, but she was also an assistant coach for the Chicago Red Stars, which currently compete in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Sitch managed individual training sessions and player development. The 2021 and 2020 Chicago Red Stars were an NWSL Challenge Cup Finalist. While Sitch was an assistant coach for the Chicago Red Stars she also worked as the head coach for the Chicago Red Stars Reserves. Sitch led the reserves to a Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Great Lakes Conference championship.
Before taking on the role as head coach for the men’s team in Chicago, Sitch served as an assistant women’s coach at the NCAA Division I level for the University of Illinois from 2018-2019. Sitch is currently the second woman to be a head coach of a men’s soccer team in the UAA.
“At the end of the day, when you're coaching, you want to help the athletes be the best on and off the field. It doesn’t matter if you're coaching men or women. You’re coaching the athletes, and you should be wanting to help inspire them to be at their best,” Sitch told the NCAA. “I knew that I was going to be the first female coach that (my players) have ever had. I know I'm the first woman that my assistant has had to work with, and they stepped into that room and they embraced me and I've never had any pushback. I’ve had nothing but support. They’ve been absolutely incredible, and, for that, I’m very blessed.”
All information and stats for Julianne Sitch courtesy of UChicago Athletics, https://athletics.uchicago.edu