Following a disappointing season in which they won just three games, the UVM women’s soccer will look to start fresh in 2008 behind the leadership of their new head coach, Kwame Lloyd.
Lloyd, 38, brings 14 years of experience to the Catamounts’ women’s soccer program. A Susquehanna University alum and former player for the National Professional Soccer League, Lloyd most recently coached at Division III Christopher Newport University in Virginia.
In seven years with CNU, Lloyd compiled a 91-40-8 record while earning USA South Conference Coach of the Year honors four times.
Lloyd will replace Kerry Dziczkaniec, who resigned after four years as the women’s soccer head coach. Already, Lloyd says he is enjoying Burlington and the UVM community.
“[Burlington] is a very welcoming community,” Lloyd said. “It’s been an easy adjustment, and the administration has been great and made it even easier.”
Lloyd said he chose to coach at UVM because it was the “right size,” as well as the academic success of the program. Not only that, but as Lloyd said, “you can win at Vermont.”
“There is lots of talent here,” Lloyd said. “We want to get rid of the misnomer of a ‘mid-major team’ and become an elite team.”
Lloyd acknowledged that despite UVM’s lackluster record last year, the team lost several close games. In the off-season, Lloyd challenged his team to take pride in their personal fitness, and the results are paying off already.
“Our team fitness level now is higher,” Lloyd said. “We work on our fitness daily and everyday it’s improved.”
“[Coach Lloyd] has high expectations for our fit levels,” senior captain Kaitlin Francis said. “We’ve done some intense weight training. It’s hard but nothing too extreme.”
The Catamounts will welcome 10 newcomers to the team this year, and already the class of 2012 has impressed their coach and fellow players alike.
“Their spirit is most impressive,” Lloyd said. “They loved being a Catamount even before they got here.”
Francis echoed her coaches’ statements. “We have a great class coming in,” Francis said. “The potential is there to make it to an America East championship.”
When setting goals for the 2008 season, Coach Lloyd looked first to his seniors for inspiration.
“Our main goal is to send the seniors out the way they need to go,” Lloyd said. Lloyd added that, though they have had a tough three years, he has asked the seniors to focus on their legacy in their final year at UVM.
As for his outlook on the 2008 season, Lloyd has set the bar high.
“Why not win the America East?” Lloyd said. “Anything can happen in the playoffs. We won’t fall short for a lack of trying.”