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Szpara to take reins of Clackamas Soccer

March 10, 2011

OREGON CITY, OR -- Clackamas Community College Athletics Department is pleased to announce the hiring of Janine Szpara to replace women’s soccer head coach Tracy Nelson who stepped down to take a year sabbatical from the college.

Szpara comes to Clackamas with a long resume of playing and coaching experience at the highest levels and looks to continue the Cougars' rich tradition of excellence on and off the pitch.

She was a four-time NCAA Division I first team All-American goal keeper for Colorado College where she helped lead the Tigers to a the NCAA title match in 1986 against North Carolina her freshman season. Szpara garnered multiple collegiate honors during her four years with the Tigers including ’86 NCAA tournament Most Valuable Defensive Player her freshman season and Adidas Goalkeeper of the Year during her senior campaign. Her field accolades led to her induction into the Colorado College Hall of Fame in 1995 as a player and her ’86 team followed as an inductee in 2006.

Szpara was a member of the U.S. National Team during the 1986-87 seasons and earned six caps. Her ’86 U.S. team was honored with an induction into the U.S Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.  Following college, Szpara continued to be a member of the U.S. National pool from 1988-1991 and saw appearances against Germany, England and Russia.  She then turned pro and played professionally, earning all-star honors, in Japan with the Shiroki Serena from 1995-99. Following Japan, Spzara returned to the U.S. and played a season with Foothill F.C. in 2000 and with the Women’s United Soccer Association’s San Jose Cyberrays from 2001-02.

Szpara’s extensive coaching career extends back to 1989 where she was an assistant at both Stanford (’89-’90) and Cal (’90-92). An overseas transfer to the Japanese league in 1995 as a player, also brought along duties as the team’s coach.  Upon her return to the U.S., Szpara had a brief assistant coaching stints at Cornell University (’00), Santa Clara University (’02), San Jose State University (’03) and Warner Pacific College (04-06) where she was the associate head coach. From 2008-10 she took on the defensive coordinator duties at Portland State University where she guided the Viking defense to a 0.67 GAA in conference play en route to a Big Sky tournament appearance. She is currently the head coach and director of the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s Portland Rain and will continue those duties while coaching at Clackamas.

Szpara also has vast experience in the Olympic Development Program (ODP), Oregon Youth Soccer and club soccer. From 1989-1992 she was an ODP goalkeeper trainer and an assistant coach for the U14 and U19 teams. In 2007, she returned to ODP as a regional staff coach and in the spring of 2009 was an assistant coach at the U15 National Team camp in Palo Alto.

Szpara will have huge shoes to fill at Clackamas where Nelson has built a Pacific Northwest junior college dynasty over the past eight years. Nelson founded the team in 2002 where her squads went on to win NWAACC titles in 2004, 2005 & 2007 along with a runner up finish this past season.  Along with being a perennial contender at the NWAACC Final Four, Nelson’s teams compiled a 148-39-18 record while winning five Southern Region titles, producing seven region MVP selections, 54 all-star selections, 18 NWAACC Sophomore All-Academic selections and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America team academic award in 2010. Nelson was recognized for her efforts by the league when she was selected as NWAACC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2005 & 2007 and as Southern Region Coach of the Year in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010.

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