ACU women’s soccer goalkeeping coach, Stephen Salas, has been promoted to full-time assistant coach, head coach Casey Wilson announced last Tuesday.
Salas was hired by coach Wilson summer of 2013 after six years with the soccer program at Hardin-Simmons University. Since coming to ACU, he has helped the coaching staff guide the team to a 13-5-1 overall record, an impressive feat for a rookie team in Div. I competition.
Salas’s main job as a goalkeeping coach has been to work with freshmen goalkeepers Kelsey Dombrowski and Sydney Newton. Both women finished in the top eight of the conference in goals-against average under his direction and combined for 81 saves, a .827 save percentage and a 0.88 goals-against average. As assistant coach, Salas’s responsibilities will widen to recruiting, game analysis and player development. Coach Wilson believes Salas will bring a lot to the table in his new position next season.
“His knowledge of the game goes beyond goalkeeping,” said Wilson. “He understands the game in many different levels. After getting to know him over the first few months of the season and the way he stepped up his role in the latter part of the season there was no doubt about whether I wanted to retain him full-time.”
Salas had a noteworthy playing career as the HSU goalkeeper before he began coaching. He played for the Cowboys from 2008-2011 and helped his team win the 2009 American Southwest Conference Tournament and reach the NCAA Championships’ Sweet 16 with an overall record of 12-3-6.
After finishing his NCAA career, Salas became the assistant coach for the HSU women’s soccer team, helping the Cowgirls earn 38 wins and a spot in the 2012 NCAA Sweet 16, along with two conference regular season and tournament championships. His goalkeepers allowed just eight goals (0.36 GAA) in each season and combined for 33 shutouts. In his two seasons as assistant coach, HSU extended its regular-season conference unbeaten streak to a NCAA-record 157 matches.
Salas spent six years with the HSU soccer program making his decision to leave a difficult one, but after much prayer he knew it was the right one to make. His goal has always been to become an assistant coach at the Div. I level, and he believes ACU has provided him with the best opportunity. He now hopes to help the Wildcats earn their first Southland Conference Championship in the upcoming 2014 season.
“I have studied a lot of soccer programs throughout the United States and the world, and I want to bring it all back to ACU,” Salas said. “I have always enjoyed teaching the game to players, so there is nothing better than doing it at the highest division of women’s soccer and at such a great program as ACU.”