Mike O’Neill enters his sixth season as head coach of Rutgers women’s soccer in 2019-20 and 20th year with the program overall. The longtime New Jersey native served as the Scarlet Knights’ associate head coach from 2004-13, now lending his local and national player expertise at the helm of Rutgers as it competes in the Big Ten Conference.
Through his involvement on the New Jersey club soccer scene, O’Neill has helped develop a multitude of regional and national-level players, while his club teams have won numerous national, regional and state titles, in addition to three national championships.
In 2015, O’Neill became the first head coach in Rutgers women’s soccer history to lead the program to the NCAA Women’s College Cup. In addition, he is the first to guide the program to NCAA Tournament berths in each of his first five seasons.
Rutgers has qualified for seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments and reached a conference championship match in three of the last six years. Throughout O'Neill's tenure at Rutgers, the program has produced eight MAC Hermann Trophy candidates, 10 United Soccer Coaches (Formerly NSCAA) All-America selections, and 34 United Soccer Coaches All-Region honorees.
The sixth-year head coach has maintained the program’s history of academic excellence and character, with 62 Scarlet Knights earning Academic All-Big Ten laurels in the last five seasons. Rutgers was named a College Women’s Team Academic Award winner by United Soccer Coaches for the eighth consecutive year in 2017.
The program has watched former players get their names called in each of the last four National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Drafts. All-Big Ten and All-Region selection, Kenie Wright, became the latest Scarlet Knight to enter the professional ranks, being drafted 29th overall by Sky Blue FC in the 2019. MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist and two-time Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, Casey Murphy, was selected 13th overall by Sky Blue FC in 2018. All-Big Ten performers Madison Tiernan and Erin Smith were selected 24th overall (Sky Blue FC) and 33rd overall (Houston Dash), respectively, in 2017.
On a proud day for the program – Jan. 15, 2016 – All-American defenders Erica Skroski and Brianne Reed were picked in the NWSL Draft, becoming the first two Rutgers players in history to be selected into the league. Reed went 18th overall to FC Kansas City, as Skroski was picked 23rd overall by hometown team Sky Blue FC.
Reed and Skroski emerged as national talents while “On the Banks.” Skroski earned NSCAA All-America Second Team laurels as a senior in 2015, with Reed securing NSCAA All-America Third Team laurels in 2014. Both players were First Team All-Big Ten players.
Last season, Rutgers solidified its highest Big Ten finish since joining the league, finishing as runner-up to the regular season title. The lineup produced seven All-Big Ten honorees, the most in program history, a third-straight Big Ten Freshman of the Year recipient, and an All-American.
Rutgers continued to rewrite the record book on numerous occasions in 2017, registering the best goals-against-average (0.267) in a single-season in Rutgers and Big Ten history. The defense claimed the NCAA team statistical titles in GAA and shutout percentage (.762), allowing a program-low and Big Ten-low six goals and posting 16 shutouts.
The Scarlet Knights began reshaping the record books in 2015, setting a new standard for the program. RU won a record 19 matches, advanced to its first College Cup in the program’s fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament trip, and ended the year ranked No. 4 in the National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) Coaches Poll – its highest position ever.
The storybook season included a colossal 7-6 penalty kick shootout victory at No. 1 Virginia in the national quarterfinals to punch the team’s ticket to Cary, North Carolina.
The team’s success in 2015 hinged on its defensive greatness. RU led the NCAA in goals-against average (0.37), shutouts (19), and shutout percentage (.731). All three statistical achievements set single-season RU records.
In his first season leading the program in 2014, O’Neill and his staff guided the Scarlet Knights to a memorable inaugural campaign in the Big Ten Conference, one that included a 13-6-1 record and third consecutive NCAA Tournament trip. Rutgers topped La Salle, 2-0, in the first round at Yurcak Field to advance before being knocked out by national runner-up, Virginia, in the second round of the tourney.
O’Neill, the 2013 NSCAA Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year, is the Director of Coaching for the Players Development Academy (PDA) in Zarepath, New Jersey, one of the Top Youth Girls Clubs in the Country and two-time ECNL Club National Champions.
O’Neill has identified and developed some of the premiere players in the state and in the country through PDA and his work with ECNL.
A USSF “A” licensed coach who holds a KNVB Dutch International Badge, O’Neill was a member of Seton Hall’s BIG EAST Championship teams in 1987 and 1988, helping the Pirates reach the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight each of those years. In 1984, O’Neill earned the Coggins Award, emblematic of the top high school player in New Jersey, while leading Kearny High School to a state championship and a number-one national ranking.
O’Neill graduated from Seton Hall University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in business management. A native of Kearny, New Jersey, he currently resides in New Egypt with his wife, Rachel, and their children, Madelyn, Kylie and Michael.
Meghan Ryan-Nemzer begins her 12th year in 2019-20 with the Rutgers coaching staff and sixth as the program's associate head coach. Ryan previously served as an assistant coach for the Scarlet Knights for four seasons after spending two years as a volunteer assistant. Ryan, a three-year RU captain at center back, graduated in 2007.
Throughout Ryan's tenure with the Scarlet Knights, the program has produced seven MAC Hermann Trophy candidates, eight United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA) All-American selections, and 23 United Soccer Coaches All-Region honorees.
With Ryan as the orchestrator of the RU defense, the Scarlet Knights have not posted a GAA higher than 1.06 in Ryan's coaching career (since 2008), eight times recording a GAA under 1.00 and six times posting a GAA under 0.65.
In 2017, RU led the NCAA with a new program-best GAA (0.27), as well as in shutout percentage (.762). The Scarlet Knights allowed a program-low and Big Ten-low six goals. In 2015, RU also led the NCAA in GAA (0.37), shutouts (19), and shutout percentage (.731). All three statistical achievements set single-season RU records at the time.
Under Ryan's guidance, backs Kenie Wright and Madison Pogarch were named All-Big Ten and All-Region honorees in 2018. Wright went on to be drafted 29th overall by Sky Blue FC, while Pogarch later signed with Portland Thorns FC.
Prior to Wright’s selection, backs Brianne Reed, Erica Skroski, and Erin Smith emerged as national talents “On the Banks.” Skroski earned All-America Second Team laurels as a senior in 2015, with Reed securing All-America Third Team laurels in 2014. Smith earned All-Region accolades as a senior in 2016. All three players were First Team All-Big Ten players.
Smith and classmate Madison Tiernan entered the professional ranks, selected 33rd overall (Houston Dash) and 24th overall (Sky Blue FC), respectively, in the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft.
On a proud day for the program – Jan. 15, 2016 –Skroski and Reed heard their names called in the NWSL Draft, becoming the first two Rutgers players in history to be drafted into the league. Reed went 18th overall to FC Kansas City, as Skroski was picked 23rd overall by hometown team Sky Blue FC.
Ryan and head coach Mike O’Neill raised Rutgers women’s soccer to new heights in 2015. RU won a record 19 matches, advanced to its first College Cup in the program’s fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament trip, and ended the year ranked No. 4 in the National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) Coaches Poll – its highest position ever.
The storybook season included a colossal 7-6 penalty kick shootout victory at No. 1 Virginia in the national quarterfinals to punch the team’s ticket to Cary, North Carolina.
On the club level, Ryan has excelled with Players Development Academy (PDA) as the head coach of PDA the Arsenal and assistant coach of the PDA Slammers. Ryan coached the Arsenal to a 2015 U17 ECNL National Championship, and has won two other ECNL national titles as an assistant with the Slammers (2014, 2013). She is the first female head coach in ECNL history to win a national championship.
As head of the Arsenal, Ryan has guided the club to continued success. The Arsenal finished 2016 third at the U-18 ECNL National Championships, capturing the ECNL Northeast Conference title. The team ended the 2014 season in first place in the ECNL Northeast Division en route to a No. 5 national ranking. In 2012, Ryan coached the Arsenal to the No. 2 spot in the nation and won the ECNL Northeast Conference U14 Championship. The squad finished third at nationals that year.
With the Slammers, Ryan is the assistant coach under Rutgers head women’s soccer coach Mike O’Neill. In addition to their two ECNL crowns, the Slammers also captured the 2011 US Youth Soccer National Championship and finished third in 2012 (No. 5 ECNL national ranking).
Ryan served as a co-captain for the Scarlet Knights for three consecutive seasons, starting with her sophomore year. After an injury caused her to miss her freshman campaign, she started 67 of 75 games through the rest of her career. Ryan was a key figure on a defense that allowed .85 goals per match in 2004 and boasted a 0.88 goals-against average in 2005. That season the team post clean sheets against eight opponents. In 2006 Ryan anchored a defense that was arguably one of the best in the country. The team finished 16-3-4, allowing a mere six goals and posting 16 shutouts, the most in the program's history.
RU finished the season ranked No. 6 in shutout percentage, No. 10 in won-lost-tied percentage and No. 11 in goals-against average. Ryan finished her impressive career by leading a defense that shut out 10 opponents, including three of the team's final four games to clinch a playoff berth in the BIG EAST Championship. Ryan was a two-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star, a three-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week, an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Defensive Player of the Week and a Soccerbuzz Elite Team of the Week honoree once. After her junior year, she was named Second Team All-Mid-Atlantic Region by Soccerbuzz magazine, and after her senior year she was given an All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention.
Meghan and her husband, Joe Nemzer, reside in Manalapan, New Jersey.
Former Rutgers men's soccer goalkeeper Lubos Ancin returned to Piscataway in 2014 as an assistant coach for the women's soccer program. Entering his sixth season on staff in 2019-20, Ancin assumes multiple responsibilities, namely supervising the Rutgers goalkeeping corps.
Led by Ancin, goalkeeper Meagan McClelland made a stellar debut on the collegiate scene, being named the 2018 Big Ten Freshman of the Year after leading the conference in GAA (0.60) and shutouts (8) across 1,785 minutes in net. She also garnered Third Team All-Big Ten, Big Ten All-Freshman Team, and Third Team All-Region accolades.
The Kearny, New Jersey, native posted eight shutouts overall and five shutouts in league action, maintaining a Big Ten leading 0.48 GAA in conference games only. Additionally, McClelland is a current member of USA’s U-20 WNT pool.
Ancin's presence has undoubtedly been felt by RU’s defensive unit and goalkeeper Casey Murphy. Murphy finished her career as a two-time All-American (2015 Second Team, 2017 First Team), two-time Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year (2015, 2017), two-time All-Big Ten First Team selection (2015, 2017), and two-time All-Region First Team honoree (2015, 2017).
Murphy participated in the FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea with the U.S. U-20 National Team during the fall of 2016. Murphy earned the start in all six matches for Team USA and boasted the most saves (21) and highest save ratio (77.8) among all goalkeepers in the tournament.
In 2017, Murphy reset Rutgers records in goal-against-average (.267) and goals-allowed (6), as the Scarlet Knights led the NCAA in GAA and shutout percentage (.762). Murphy, a 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist and United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA) First Team All-American, was selected 13th overall in the NWSL College Draft by Sky Blue FC. Additionally, she signed a professional contract with Montpellier Hérault Sport Club of France, beginning her pro career in January of 2017.
On their way to the first College Cup in program history in 2015, the Scarlet Knights led the NCAA in goals-against average (0.37), shutouts (19), and shutout percentage (.731). All three statistical achievements set single-season RU records.
Murphy, who first set new Rutgers records in GAA, goals allowed (10), shutouts, and save percentage, was named the 2015 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Second Team All-American.
In 2014, Murphy was named the goalkeeper on the Big Ten All-Freshman team after posting a 0.64 GAA, .829 save percentage, 63 saves, and 10 shutouts while allowing just 13 goals in 20 contests in 2014. She was twice named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
Among true freshmen nationally, Murphy posted the second-best GAA, which overall was 21st nationally. In the annals of RU history, Murphy also stood out. She allowed the second-fewest goals, recorded the second-best GAA and posted the third-best save percentage of any freshman keeper in RU history.
Ancin joined RU with substantial playing and coaching experience. From 2004-2014, Ancin served as the assistant head coach at the Paul Blodgett Goalkeeper Training School, preparing and running practices for goalkeepers of all ages. In addition, Ancin was the assistant goalkeeper coach of the New Jersey Wildcats and the Robert Reasso Soccer School.
In 2017, Ancin joined the staff of Sky Blue FC, a New Jersey based club of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) for the season.
A goalkeeper for the Scarlet Knights from 2003-05, Ancin played in 33 games and made 99 saves in his career. He finished with eight collegiate shutouts, once earning BIG EAST and ECAC Goalkeeper of the Week honors. Ancin was also placed on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week in October of 2004.
A Burlington High School product, Ancin was named a First Team All-State goalkeeper by the Star-Ledger and a first team all-league honoree by six different newspapers. He was the MVP of the Rutgers Elite Camp and the South Jersey goalkeeper of the year in 2002, as well as a first team all-Burlington County pick as a junior in 2001.
A native of Slovakia, he moved to the United States in June of 2001 after starting in goal for the Slovakian National Champions in 2000-2001. A member of the Slovakian Youth National Team in 2000-2001, Ancin played club ball with the Medford Strikers (2001) and FC Coppa (2002).
Ancin currently resides in Dunellen, New Jersey, and is happily married to his wife, Hana. The couple are parents to daughter, Juliet, born in 2015, and Ava Elizabeth, born in 2017.
Former Scarlet Knight Trish DiPaolo begins her sixth season in 2019-20 on staff, serving roles as Volunteer Assistant Coach and Director of Operations. DiPaolo, a four-year captain and seven-year player for RU, overcame numerous injuries and served as an integral part of the Scarlet Knights' success in her career.
In 2017, DiPaolo led the effort to team up Rutgers women’s soccer and Mandy Gonzalez, a Broadway star in the musical sensation Hamilton, for the “Fearless Girl” fundraiser. The event, inspired by the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street, was formed to empower and inspire strong, independent and confident young women to dream big and execute on their dreams.
The inaugural event took place on Rutgers campus and included numerous speakers - women's soccer alum Christy Monroy, Sky Blue FC's Janine Beckie, Dr. Yelena Janjigian, Grammy-Winner Gloria Gaynor, and Mandy Gonzalez.
The initiative continues to grow. In 2019, the Fearless Together Fundraiser hosted in partnership with RWJ Barnabas Health welcomed nearly 300 fearless guests to a sold-out event – designed to bring the community together and inspire youth to be brave, proud, strong and fearless together – at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Courtyard.
The guest speakers included Heather O'Reilly, Olympic Gold Medalist and World Cup Champion of the U.S. Women's National Team, former Scarlet Knight Meghan Cameron, senior defender Kenie Wright, and Players Development Academy member Nicky Chico.
DiPaolo's experience includes time at the club, high school, college and professional levels. In 2016, DiPaolo earned a spot as a back on Sky Blue FC of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). She has served as a student assistant coach since 2007 at the Rutgers University Soccer Youth Camps, providing training and instruction throughout camp sessions. Further, DiPaolo has six years of experience with East Brunswick Girls Soccer as a trainer under head coach Eddy Lam.
In her role, DiPaolo designs and executes practice sessions. In 2011, DiPaolo worked as an assistant strength and conditioning intern at Lake Highland Prepatory High School in Orlando, Fla. While there, she conducted training sessions incorporating weight lifting, speed and agility-specific soccer drills.
DiPaolo tied for third in Rutgers history with 85 matches at the end of her career and was the unheralded leader of the squad since the 2010 season. Initially a forward, DiPaolo closed her career as the leader in the backfield for Rutgers and ended her time in Scarlet with four goals and nine assists.
The Sparta, New Jersey, native earned her bachelor's degree in exercise science and sport management from Rutgers in May of 2011 and went on to finish her master's degree in human resource management "On the Banks" in 2013.