Middle Tennessee State University

MTSU Athletics
MTSU Box 463 Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Division 1 Tennessee Southeast
Public Very Large National competitor

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Aston Rhoden

No other coach has embodied and embraced the sport of soccer at Middle Tennessee like 14-year mentor Aston Rhoden. During his tenure with the Blue Raiders, which started in 2002, he has lifted the program to new heights on and off the field, while exhibiting his core team ideals of Pride. Passion. Purpose.


Already the all-time winningest coach in program history with a mark of 156-97-31, Rhoden has notched a conference record of 13-11-6 since entering Conference USA in 2013 with top five finishes in 2014 and 2015.


His two most recent trips to the Conference USA Tournament also included first round wins before facing off against the No. 1 seed in the semifinals in both seasons.


Rhoden added a Sun Belt Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance to his impressive resume in 2010. The program also played host to the Sun Belt Championships for the first time in 2011 at Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium.


Middle Tennessee finished second in the 2010 Sun Belt regular season standings, but when it mattered most, during the conference championships, it pulled through to advance to the national tournament for the first time in program history. Despite facing arguably the toughest non-conference schedule in school history, including a match with perennial power, defending champion and No. 1-ranked North Carolina. Middle Tennessee faced four nationally-ranked opponents during the campaign in addition to a pair of SEC road games.


Along the way, he reached the 100-win plateau while at Middle Tennessee Oct. 3, 2010, at UALR, becoming the first coach in school history to surpass the milestone. His defensive unit allowed a goal or fewer in 15 consecutive matches through the Sun Belt Tournament championship, including each contest on the Sun Belt slate.


The challenging non-conference slate continued in 2011 with three SEC foes on the road in consecutive weeks in the opening month, including a match at No. 23 Tennessee in early September. The schedule prepared the Blue Raiders well for Sun Belt action, as Middle Tennessee registered six of its nine shutouts against conference opponents and only allowed more than a goal once in the final 10 matches of the campaign.


In 2012, Rhoden’s team reeled off a 14-5-1 record to capture a share of the regular season Sun Belt title. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year by his peers. Senior Paige Goeglein was honored as the SBC Offensive Player of the Year, while rookie Kate Loye garnered Freshman of the Year accolades. In addition, the Blue Raiders had six All-Conference selections.


He has seen his Blue Raider teams secure double-figure victories in 10 of the previous 11 seasons, including a school-record 17 wins in 2006. Middle Tennessee's team has earned the NSCAA Academic Award for 11 consecutive years and was the 2008 winner of the Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Award with an overall team GPA of 3.5.


Indeed, the Rhoden era has been one of on-field accomplishments and academic achievements. The three-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year led the Blue Raiders to their first conference championship in 2004 and a second title in 2012. Middle Tennessee strung together 10 straight winning seasons for the first time in program history. Rhoden notched his 100th overall coaching career win in Middle Tennessee's 3-1 win against Western Kentucky Oct. 27, 2006.


Rhoden's coaching has elevated his players to high levels of success and Middle Tennessee's fast-paced, attacking style has not only resulted in a top-notch defensive squad, but fans were also awed by an offensive unit rated second nationally in scoring in 2012 and third in 2006. Middle Tennessee's 17-4 record produced the nation's eighth-best winning percentage (.810) that season. The high-octane Middle Tennessee offense established single-season records for points (222), goals (76) and assists (66) in 2006. High-scoring offenses under Rhoden are nothing new. The Blue Raiders were No. 3 nationally in scoring in 2004 and they ranked among the top 25 nationally in 2005.


The Blue Raiders also earned the program's first regional ranking in 2006. They broke into the Soccer Buzz regional ranking after a 14-2 start and finished the 2006 campaign ranked No. 14 in the final Central Region poll. In 2009, MT enjoyed a run in the NSCAA South Region's Top 10 after a stellar start on its way to tying for the third-best record in school history at 12-6-2.


Under Rhoden's direction, Middle Tennessee has proven to be a record-setting program in all aspects of the game. The single-season records for wins, shots, goals, assists, points, least goals allowed, goals against average and shutouts all have been established under his watch.


Middle Tennessee became one of the premier teams in the Sun Belt under Rhoden, notching a 74-24-11 record in Sun Belt Conference play. Rhoden's solid work has been rewarded with Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2003, 2004 and 2012.


His players have excelled on the field and in the classroom. Rhoden signed the SBC Newcomer of the Year in each of his first four seasons, and Soccer Buzz rated the 2005 signing class No. 1 in the Sun Belt and among the top 55 classes nationally. Additionally, the 2006-08 signing classes were named to the top 25 in the Central Region by the online publication. Rhoden produced the Sun Belt's Player of the Year in 2004 when Debs Brereton became the first player in school history to be so honored followed by Paige Goeglein in 2012. 44 of his players have earned all-conference honors during the past 11 seasons.


Under his watch, Soccer Buzz has named eight Middle Tennessee players to the All-Central Region Team and three players have earned recognition on the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week. Rhoden also has had a player selected to the Central Region All-Freshman Team by Soccer Buzz, while another was selected as the NSCAA National Player of the Week. In 2009, two players (Shan Jones, Vanessa Mueggler) were recognized by the NSCAA on its All-South Region Team, the first time the Blue Raiders had two players in a single season on the squads. MT has had two players recognized in a season three times since as Allison Stallard and Regina Thomas in 2011, Goeglein and Thomas in 2012, and Kelsey Brouwer and Emily Jorgenson in 2015 all received NSCAA All-Region honors.


The honors continued to flow in 2010, capped by goalkeeper Rebecca Cushing being selected as the Sun Belt Tournament Most Outstanding Player. She was joined on the all-tournament team by four others after Middle Tennessee captured the crown. Four Blue Raiders grabbed all-conference accolades after the regular season, including three on the first team. Cushing also was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week for her efforts in the conference tournament, while Mueggler added her second-straight NSCAA All-South Region honor. On Oct. 3, 2012, Goeglein was named to the College Soccer 360 Primetime Performer Weekly Honor Roll.


Rhoden also has developed the top-five all-time leading goal producers in program history as well as 19 first-team All-Sun Belt players, one SBC Player of the Year, one SBC Offensive Player of the Year, four SBC Freshmen of the Year, four SBC Newcomers of the Year and 19 Sun Belt Player of the Week selections. Rhoden coached two players at Middle Tennessee who earned spots on the All-Time Sun Belt 30-Year Anniversary Team (Laura Miguez, Debs Brereton).


More honors rolled in as Middle transitioned into Conference USA as Rhoden has seen Brouwer named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference USA in 2015. Rhoden has also had three second team selections, three third team selections, two all-freshman selections, four all-tournament selections and eight C-USA Player of the Week award winners in the teams three seasons in Conference USA.


Success in recruiting has led to Middle Tennessee's elevated success on the field and to improved attendance in each of Rhoden's seasons. The Blue Raiders set a single-game attendance record when 1,309 attended the 2006 opener against Southern Miss. The previous high for single-game attendance was 1,285 against Vanderbilt in 2005. During the 2011 season, Middle Tennessee held the top rank in attendance in the Sun Belt, outdrawing its conference opponents by more than 100 on average per match.


Perhaps fans continue to flock to Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium in record numbers because Rhoden's teams have rarely disappointed on the home turf despite the challenging schedule. The Blue Raiders are 92-29-10 at home under Rhoden, including two perfect seasons (9-0 in 2004 and 10-0 in 2006). The Blue Raiders had a 23-match home win streak snapped during the 2007 season but still managed to finish 6-1-1 on the home turf.


Not only does Rhoden emphasize winning on the field and in the weight room, but he also stresses excelling in the classroom as well. An incredible total of 114 of his student-athletes have earned All-SBC academic accolades during the previous 10 seasons, and he has had six players selected to the CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District IV Team with a 3.3 or higher GPA. Goeglein earned first team Capital One Academic All-America accolades in 2012 becoming the fourth student-athlete and first soccer athlete at MT earn that prestigious honor. In addition, Middle Tennessee has earned the prestigious NSCAA Academic Award 14 consecutive years under Rhoden. Teams must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to be considered. He also has had nine players selected to the NSCAA South Region All-Scholar Team.


In the three seasons MT has been in Conference USA, nine Blue Raiders have been named to All-C-USA Academic teams while 24 have been named C-USA Academic Medal Winners (3.75-4.0 GPA) and 72 have been named to the C-USA Academic Honor Roll (#.0-4.0 GPA).


Rhoden became head coach at Middle Tennessee after serving in the same capacity for five varsity seasons at North Alabama in Florence, Ala. Rhoden started the North Alabama program from scratch, playing the first season as a club team before moving to varsity status in his second year at the helm. He compiled 39 wins during his tenure at UNA, including a pair of 11-win campaigns.


Rhoden was hired at UNA after serving as staff coach for the Alabama Youth Soccer Association and as an assistant soccer coach at Randolph High School in Huntsville, Ala. He also served as director of coaching for the Rocket City Kicks Soccer Club in Huntsville and is currently a staff coach for the Tennessee Olympic Development Program (ODP) staff.


The Jamaica native received his bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics from the University of Alabama-Huntsville in 1989. He holds a National "A" Coaching License from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) as well as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Premier Diploma. Rhoden played collegiately at Alabama-Huntsville, where he earned numerous athletic and academic awards. Prior to his four-year playing career at UAH, Rhoden played with the youth national team of Jamaica as well as Real Mona FC.


Rhoden and his wife, Tara, live in Murfreesboro with their daughter, Ashley.

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Chris Cahill

Chris Cahill enters his fifth season with the Blue Raiders after joining the program in March 2012.


“We interviewed a lot of very quality persons for this position and Chris was able to separate himself from the others throughout the process,” Rhoden said. “He's a very good recruiter and a relentless worker. His experience training high-level players will be an asset to our program. I'm very excited with the addition of Chris to our staff.”


During his first season at MT, he helped the Blue Raiders to a 14-5-1 record and a share of the Sun Belt Conference regular season title. Cahill helped coordinate the nation's second scoring offense with 2.85 goals per match.


Cahill joined the Blue Raiders after a one-year stint as an assistant coach at Evansville, helping increase shutouts and help the Purple Aces make the conference tournament.


Prior to his stop at the Missouri Valley Conference school, he spent two seasons at Auburn. He was the Tigers’ graduate assistant in 2009 and then a volunteer assistant the following campaign, helping Auburn secure an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.


In 2010, Auburn’s NCAA Tournament bid came on the heels of a SEC West Division title. The Tigers were in the same regional pool, in Tallahassee, Fla., as Middle Tennessee that season. He helped coach players to All-America, TopDrawerSoccer.com and All-Southeastern Conference honors during the year.


“I’m excited to be here and get started”, said Cahill. “To have the opportunity to work with Aston and (assistant coach) Allison Whitworth and what they have done for the Blue Raider program is exciting and bodes well for the future.”


Cahill also spent two years as an assistant boy’s coach at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga., prior to accepting the Auburn position. He implemented practice and game plans, assisted in the coaching and conditioning of the student-athletes and oversaw the camp staff and development of the camp curriculum at the school.


Harrison was ranked No. 1 nationally for 12 weeks during the 2008 season, while it captured the 2008 and 2009 regional titles. A half-dozen players from the 2008 squad accepted Division I scholarships after it finished 28-4 overall and 17-1 in region action.


Cahill was a three-year defender for the Georgia Southern men’s team and lettered for the Eagles during the 2005 campaign. During his career in Statesboro, Ga., the program improved dramatically in the Southern Conference standings, rising from near the bottom to a second-place finish in 2006 when it only conceded two goals in seven league matches.


He holds an NSCAA Premier Diploma and is a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.


He is a member of the NSCAA, holds an NSCAA Premier Diploma and was selected as the first class of 30 under 30. Holds USSF “B” License. Received his Master’s of Education degree in Business and Marketing Education.


He earned his bachelor's degree in sport management from Georgia Southern in 2007 and master's degree in marketing and business communication from Auburn in 2011.

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Yiana Dimmitt

Yiana Dimmitt enters her second season as Assistant Coach for the Middle Tennessee soccer team. Dimmitt joined the staff in August of 2015 with a focus on instructing the Blue Raider goalkeepers in addition to her day-to-day duties.


“Yiana stood above a lot of the other candidates, and we knew she would be a good fit for us immediately when we met her,” head coach Aston Rhoden said. “Her experience as both a coach and a player will obviously add a lot of quality to our staff as a goalkeeper coach.”


Prior to coming to MT, Dimmitt was the head coach of the Dublin United’s U12 and U17 teams where she taught players training for the collegiate and professional levels. She was also an Assistant Volunteer Coach at Cal State University: East Bay from 2014 until her hiring. While at Cal State, Dimmitt managed a Div. II program and also coordinated the school’s recruiting efforts.


In addition to her responsibilities at Cal State, she helped lead Archbishop Mitty High School to two Northern California CCS Championship titles.


Before her stint at the high school level, Dimmitt was the head coach for the Lamorinda United Soccer Club where she ran practices and managed U8 and U10 girls. She also provided assistance during practices and games to head coaches of other teams as technical coordinator.


Dimmitt’s road to MT also featured a stop as an assistant at Holy Names University and she has given private lessons since 2010.


Prior to coaching, Dimmitt was a talented player who graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in History degree. While at LMU, she was named to the WCC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and was a National Scholar-Athlete.


Dimmitt transferred to LMU from UCLA after three seasons in which she saw action in 14 matches as the team’s goalkeeper. She tallied a career-high six saves against national powerhouse UNC and appeared as a reserve in NCAA Tournament wins over Boise State and San Diego State in 2009.


Following graduation from college, Dimmitt played professionally for the Bay Area Breeze in 2013 and also during its semi-pro season in 2014. In 2015, Dimmitt played with semi-pro WPSL team Tottenham Hotspur East Bay Ladies, helping them to the Pac-North Division Championship and a berth in the Western Regional Finals.

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