COLUMBUS, Ohio – Former Rhode Island head coach Michael Needham has joined the Ohio State women’s soccer team as an assistant coach, Buckeye head coach Lori Walker announced Tuesday. Needham spent six seasons as head coach of the Rams from 2011-2016.
“I am thrilled and excited to be named an assistant coach at The Ohio State University. I would like to thank Coach Walker and everyone at Ohio State for giving me and my family this fantastic opportunity. During my visit to campus, I was extremely impressed with every person I came into contact with and their commitment to the success of the student-athlete. I look forward to getting on campus and getting started. I’d also like to thank my staff and student-athletes at Rhode Island, along with Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn for their support over the last six seasons.”
Needham amassed 45 wins in his six years in Kingston, helping the Rams to the Atlantic 10 Tournament in 2014, marking their first appearance since 2006. During Needham’s tenure, a pair of Rams garnered All-Atlantic 10 honors while three players were named to the conference’s all-rookie team. This past season, goalkeeper Katie Nickles flourished under Needham’s watch, posting a 0.98 goals-against average to go along with seven clean sheets.
The Rhode Island graduate previously spent two seasons as head coach at New Mexico State, overseeing that start of the Aggies’ soccer program, where he led them to 16 wins over the two campaigns. Before his time in Las Cruces, Needham served as an assistant coach at George Mason, UNLV and Drury University.
“Adding Michael’s high energy and passion for all things soccer to our staff is a breath of fresh air,” Walker said. “Michael has climbed the assistant ladder to be a head coach at two schools over the last eight years. He brings a mature yet humble and grounded perspective that frees his drive to focus on the best parts of the job; making players better and recruiting. Michael has developed great relationships with a variety of clubs across Region I, Region IV and internationally. He is the perfect balance with Brian’s extensive experience in Ohio, Region II and Canada. Michael is highly regarded and respected by coaches that he has worked with around the country. I was immediately impressed by Michael’s easy nature, transparency and drive to win at the highest level. We are excited to welcome Michael, Christy and their children to Columbus.”
Needham played all four seasons for the Rams before competing professionally with Municipal Goecechea in the Costa Rican Premier League.
Needham, a native of Killingworth, Conn., earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Rhode Island in 1996 and a master’s degree in physical education from Drury in 2003. He holds a U.S. Soccer Federation “A” License, an NSCAA Premier Diploma and an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.
Needham and his wife, Christy, have a daughter, Riley, and a son, Maxwell.