On May 22, 2018, the Department of Athletics at UNC Asheville named Lindsay Vera as its fourth head coach for women’s soccer in the program’s history.
Prior to accepting the Bulldogs’ offer, Vera had helped start the women’s soccer program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. As the first-ever assistant woman’s soccer coach in the school’s history, Vera had the opportunity to build a successful program literally from scratch.
The program began with an all freshmen team and posted its first winning season in 2016 (10-8-1).
Vera coached the offense, guiding the team to lead the NCAA in shots on goal per match (9.11), while ranking 8th in shots per match (18.11). Out of all the NCAA Division I schools, UTRGV Women’s Soccer ranked 27th in goals per match (2.05), 35th in points per match (5.84), 42nd in total goals (39), 44th in assists per match (1.74) 46th in total points (111) and 57th in total assists (33).
In its first match against Hampton, UTRGV set program records for margin of victory and goals scored (11-0 victory). That game also saw the team set program records for total shots (43) and shots on goal (28), while holding Hampton to only one shot on goal.
Under Vera’s coaching, forward Sarah Bonney became only the 30th player in NCAA Division I history to produce 12 points in a single match. That effort led to Bonney’s selection as the first-ever National Player of the Week award in the UTRGV program’s history.
Bonney was also twice selected as the WAC Player of the Week, and fellow striker Andreya Barrera was named WAC Player of the Week that same season. Both were later named to the All-WAC Second Team.
Last season UTRGV earned its second consecutive winning season and first winning season in WAC play (4-2-1). They finished 3rd in the conference regular season in only the fourth year of the team’s existence. UTRGV played tough on the road, as it tied the defending WAC Champion Seattle. Their only conference losses were on the road to the eventual regular season champion UMKC and to the ultimate WAC tournament champion Utah Valley.
Last season also saw a bevy of individual honors for UTRGV players. Named to the All-WAC Second Team were Andreya Barrera, Sarah Bonney, Hanna Spets and Tuva Rolstad Nilsen. Barrera also earned another WAC Offensive Player of the Week honor, while Nilsen, Marcela Ramirez and Malia Irvine were each tabbed WAC Defensive Player of the Week throughout the season.
Vera’s influence reached beyond the pitch and into the classroom, as the Women’s Soccer Team earned NSCAA Team Academic Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
During her 4-year stint at UTRGV, Vera also served as the team’s Camp Director and was heavily involved in the community’s youth soccer family.
Before she helped start the UTRGV Women’s Soccer program from scratch, Vera served as a volunteer assistant coach at North Carolina State University, her alma mater. Her responsibilities included assisting in training plans, participating in training sessions, completing NCAA practice logs, reviewing and critiquing game footage and handling the Wolfpack’s social media accounts.
Vera also worked for the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL, now known as NCFC) in Raleigh. There she served as a youth coach and as director of marketing from 2009-2013. She coached girls’ teams in the 9-16-year age groups, trained players individually and coached in the summer camps.
In her marketing capacity, Vera planned and implemented special events, created and maintained sponsorships, handled fundraising, managed the club’s social media, generated presentations and marketing materials. She also helped facilitate the club’s college internship program.
In 2009 former Women’s National Team coach Tony DiCicco drafted Vera for the Boston Breakers in the 7th round of the initial draft for the Women’s Professional Soccer league. At the time, WPS was the highest level of women’s professional soccer in North America. Vera trained and competed with U.S. Women’s National Team players including Kristine Lilly, Shannon Boxx and Amy LePeilbet. Vera also spent time with the New Jersey Sky Blue and St. Louis Athletica teams where she trained alongside Heather O’Reilly, Christine (Rampone) Pierce and Hope Solo.
As a scholarship player at NC State, Vera finished with 27 goals and 67 career points. Her goal output was 10th highest in program history. She was the Wolfpack’s leading scorer in three of her four seasons. As a two-time team captain, Vera earned All-ACC second team honors during each of her final three seasons, after being named to the All-ACC Freshman team in 2005. She was an NSCAA All-Region selection in 2006 and the NC State MVP in 2007.
Vera is from Houston, Texas and is very proud of her big family, which includes her twin sister, an older set of twins and four other siblings. She is also “Aunt Lindsay” to six nieces and nephews.