University of North Texas

University of North Texas Athletics
Athletic Center - 1155 Union Cir Denton, TX 76203
Division 1 Texas South
Public Very Large National competitor

Coaches

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John Hedlund

Having established himself as one of the most prominent coaches in the nation, John Hedlund has molded the Mean Green soccer program into one of the nation’s elite that has never had a losing season. Since the program’s birth in 1995, Hedlund has led North Texas to a 343-127-34 record (71.4 percentage), 15 conference championships, six NCAA Tournament appearances and a top 25 national ranking.


What has been a winning tradition program for decades, Hedlund has built an even greater dynasty since moving to Conference USA in 2013. The Mean Green have won seven C-USA championships since 2014 and reached the NCAA Tournament three times since 2015 and won more games during this time span than any other C-USA opponent.


North Texas in 2018 won both the C-USA Regular Season and Tournament championship, earned a No. 24 national ranking and featured NCAA All-American Dominique James who also was named the C-USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. They had eight all conference honorees, which was more than any other school in the league.


Entering the 2018 season, Hedlund was only one of eight active coaches who has won 300 or more matches all at the same school. Of those eight coaches, he ranked fifth in wins and fifth in winning percentage.


Anson Dorrance (North Carolina, 40 years) and G Guerrieri (Texas A&M, 26 years) are the only other active coaches to have never had a losing season at one school for more than 20 years in a row.


In 2017, Hedlund led North Texas to its 13th women’s soccer conference championship by claiming the

Conference USA Tournament title..


Last year North Texas had one of the most potent offenses, scoring the eighth-most goals in the country. They

also did it on the defensive end, holding opponents to a C-USA best .8 goals per match. Defender Dominque

James was named first-team all-conference and the Mean Green had two other players earn all-conference nods

as well. In the tournament, Taylor Torres was named the Offensive MVP, James was named the Defensive MVP

and Natalie McDowell and Natalie Newell were named to the all-tournament team as they claimed the conference championship and reached the NCAA Tournament


In total, the Mean Green have had 87 all-conference selections and 57 all-tournament selections.


Since joining C-USA in 2013, UNT has dominated. Entering the 2018 season, they are 48-10-5 in all conference

matches. No other school in C-USA comes close to the amount of wins or the .801 winning percentage since

UNT moved to C-USA.


Entering the 2018 season, the Mean Green were and still are riding a NCAA-best home conference unbeaten streak. They

haven’t been beaten at home by a conference opponent since Oct. 31, 2008.. They posted a 4-0-1 record

in home conference matches in 2017.


In 13 years in the Sun Belt Conference the Mean Green earned the respect of the league’s coaches. UNT

won eight conference championships and garnered 47 all-conference selections, including 35 first-team all-conference

nods.


Six women’s soccer players have been inducted to the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2005 Krista Davey

was the first soccer player to be inducted, followed by Christy Johnson in 2007 and Marilyn Marin in 2008.

Melinda Pina was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, Heather Hutyra joined them in 2013 and Kendall Juett

entered in 2017.


Under Hedlund, the Mean Green have also succeeded in the classroom, in 2017 UNT had multiple women with a 3.75 or higher and eight others had G.P.A.s of 3.0 or higher.


The team was recognized for its off-field accomplishments by the National Soccer Coaches Association of

America as one of the recipients for the 2010 and 2014 NSCAA Team Academic Award. The NSCAA annually

hands out the academic honor to Division I schools whose team grade point average is a 3.0 or higher. The

Mean Green posted a team grade-point average of 3.22 for the 2013-14 school year. Additionally, the women’s

soccer team’s APR (Academic Progress Report) has been ranked in the top 10% nationally three out of the last

six years.


Hedlund’s association with North Texas began in 1990 as an assistant men’s soccer coach. He served briefly as

the head coach of the men’s program in 1994 before the university discontinued the sport.


In 1995, Hedlund concluded a 12-year professional playing career, in which he played defender for the United

States Men’s Olympic qualifying team (1983-84), the New York Express (1984-85), the Dallas Sidekicks (1986-

87 and 1992-95) and the Dallas Rockets (1988-91).


In four seasons with the Sidekicks, he scored 15 goals in 78 games over four seasons, and ranks 19th in team

history in shots blocked and 33rd in games played. He was a member of the 1986-87 and 1993 Sidekicks

championship teams, blocking a total of 20 shots during his playoff career, the 12th-most in Sidekicks history.

He scored five goals in the 1994 CISL playoffs for the Sidekicks, and ranks 20th in club history in playoff goals.


In the outdoor game, Hedlund played with the Richardson Rockets, who won the 1991 SISL Championship and reached the 1991 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. Hedlund helped the Rockets reach new heights in American soccer by reaching the fourth round of the 1992 CONCACAF Champions Cup. The Dallas Rockets were one of only three United States teams to reach the fourth round of the Champions Cup in the pre-Major League Soccer era (1969-1994), but fell in the fourth round to Club America in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. He played with the United States Olympic team under Manfred Schellscheidt in the lead up to the 1984 Summer Olympics, but missed the Olympic Tournament due to injury. With the United States,


Hedlund played tournaments in South Korea, Sweden, Finland and Malaysia.


A four-year letterwinner at Midwestern State University, Hedlund was twice voted to the NAIA All-America team in college. He scored 26 goals and added 12 assists playing several different positions on the pitch. He was named the Most Valuable Player in the 1983 NAIA National Tournament, as he led the Mustangs to the championship game. He is a member of Midwestern State’s Athletic Hall of Honor.The Plano native holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Midwestern State and resides in Argyle with his wife, Julie. They have two sons: Chad, who played football at Wake Forest and SMU and Cole, who is currently on the Mean Green football team and set the national high school football record for field goals made for Argyle High School in 2011.

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Daniel Dobson

Daniel Dobson finished his fifth season as the top assistant on John Hedlund’s coaching staff in 2018. He serves as the top recruiting assistant and also coaches the field players. Dobson started out as a volunteer assistant at North Texas in 2012 and moved into a full-time position in 2014.


Since Dobson joined the Mean Green, he has helped lead North Texas to nine championships (five regular-season & four conference tournament championships) and four trips to the NCAA Tournament. He also helped lead North Texas to a school record in wins with 19 (2015) and a Conference USA record for shutouts in a season with 16 shutouts (2015).


In 2018, the Mean Green were the Conference USA Regular Season and Tournament champions and boasted a conference-best nine all-conference players including junior Dominique James who was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year and overall Player of the Year.


In 2017, Dobson helped lead the Mean Green to another Conference USA championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in school history. North Texas finished with a 14-4-4 record, the program's 23rd consecutive winning season and featured the conference's top defense that allowed just .8 goals per match and had one of the country's most potent offense's, scoring the eighth most goals (49) in the country.


The Mean Green had three players earn all-conference nods, including first-team selectee Dominque James.


The Mean Green improved their NCAA-best undefeated home conference unbeaten streak to 44 by positing a 4-0-1 record in home conference matches in 2017. North Texas hasn't lost a home conference match since Oct. 31 2008 and are 41-0-3 during the streak.


In 2016, Dobson helped lead the Mean Green to their third straight Conference USA regular-season conference title. The Mean Green went 9-1 in conference play, only the second time that a North Texas team has won nine league games. North Texas earned the No. 1 seed in the Conference USA Championship but ultimately lost in the semifinals.


In 2015, Dobson helped coach the Mean Green to what might go down as the best team in program history. North Texas won a school-record 19 games, en route to winning back-to-back regular season titles. The team won its first Conference USA Championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in school history. The 2015 team was ranked as high as No. 3 in the central region and received votes in the national poll throughout the season. North Texas also beat TCU, 1-0, on the road.


Dobson mentored nine all-conference players, including C-USA Co-Offensive Player of the Year Rachel Holden, Midfielder of the Year Karla Pineda and first-team all-conference goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine.


The 2014 team won its first Conference USA regular-season title behind a record of 16-5-1 and 14 shutouts. Rachel Holden, Karla Pineda and Jackie Kerestine received all-conference honors for their play in 2014. North Texas also defeated Oregon State (Pac 12) at home.


In 2013, North Texas defeated two Big 12 teams: at TCU (2-0) and at Oklahoma (5-0). North Texas finished second in C-USA and advanced to the conference finals. Dobson helped coach the 2013 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year (Rachel Holden) and 2013 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year (Kelsey Hodges). Hodges went on to sign a professional contract with the Seattle Sounders Women in 2014 and a Division I team in Sweden.


As a player, Dobson was a standout for Memphis from 2001-04. He was named team captain for his senior year and led the Tigers win a C-USA regular season and tournament championship. That year, Memphis was ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation, the highest-ever ranking for Memphis. He became the first Memphis product to sign a Major League Soccer contract, and spent time with both the Kansas City Wizards and Chivas USA.


After his playing career, Dobson has spent 12 years coaching club, academy, high school and collegiate soccer squads throughout the Metroplex. This will be his seventh season with the Mean Green program.


Dobson is a graduate of Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas. He and his wife, Casey Fields Dobson, have two sons, Luke and Casen.

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Fleur Benatar

Fleur Benatar became an assistant coach with the North Texas soccer program in 2016 after serving as the director of operations in 2015. Benatar is a familiar face to the Mean Green. She is a former UNT player (1996-97) and assistant coach (2000-01).


Benatar has coaching experience throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the club level, with the Olympic Development Program (ODP) and with US Soccer.


She was an assistant coach at North Texas until TWU hired Benatar to start its women's soccer program in 2001. In her 11 years as the head coach of the Pioneers, Benatar compiled a record of 63-119-23. Under Benatar’s direction, 47 TWU soccer student-athletes received All-Lone Star Conference honors, six earned All-South Central Region honors, 13 were named to the All-Lone Star Conference Academic Team and 54 received Commissioner’s Honor Roll. She also coached back-to-back LSC Academic Players of the Year in Aly Vincent-Evans in 2008 and Jacqueline Horner in 2009.


Benatar has more than 20 years of experience coaching club soccer, working with Liberty FC, Sting Soccer Club, Solar Soccer Club and Liverpool FC America. Since 2016, she was a coach for Region III of the Olympic Development Program, where she evaluated, coached and mentored top soccer players in the region.


Benatar is also involved with soccer at the national level. Since 2013, she has been a national team training coach at the US Soccer’s Dallas Training Center.


She holds a U.S.S.F. National “A” coaching license and is a state-level course instructor.


A graduate of Richardson High School, Benatar played college soccer for two seasons at Arkansas before transferring to North Texas in 1996. She received her undergraduate degree in kinesiology from North Texas in 1999 and her master’s degree in kinesiology in May 2002.


Benatar and her husband, Will, have a daughter, Gabrielle and two sons, Fletcher and Phillip.

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