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Anson Dorrance

Reducing a description of Anson Dorrance’s accomplishments and contributions to “The Beautiful Game” to a one-page summary is a task bordering on ludicrous.

Anson Dorrance

Reducing a description of Anson Dorrance’s accomplishments and contributions to “The Beautiful Game” to a one-page summary is a task bordering on ludicrous. No matter how one measures success, Coach Dorrance has achieved it and continues the campaign for more. As the head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heel women’s soccer team since 1979, he has built what is arguably the most successful collegiate athletic program in the nation in any sport for men or women. Trying to define his place in the world of soccer seems too mammoth a task for this short biography. After all, since Anson is one of our own, we North Carolinians are sure to boast of his success. If we search for a more unbiased opinion, we can rely upon the perspective offered by Soccer America. In 1995, that national publication named Dorrance no less than “one of the twenty-five most influential people in the history of American soccer.”

Anson Dorrance’s extraordinary contributions as a coach at the collegiate, national, and international levels have earned him the distinction of being selected as a member of the fifth class of inductees of the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame on this, the fifth day of January, 2002.

Following an award-winning playing career with the Tar Heels, Dorrance took over for Dr. Marvin Allen as the head coach of the Tar Heel men’s team in 1977. His men’s teams posted a record of 172-65-21 in his twelve years with the program. The 1987 men’s team won the ACC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Final Four. Early in his career at Carolina he co-founded the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association. When Carolina decided to make women’s soccer a varsity sport in 1979, Dorrance became a two-team head coach, and the dynasty that would be Carolina women’s soccer was born. The Tar Heel women took just three seasons to earn a national championship, winning the AIAW title in 1981. When the NCAA began conducting national championships in women’s soccer in 1982, Carolina won the first three titles. That incredible beginning was only the start of a remarkable record of achievement. Consider the bare facts. In Dorrance’s twenty-three years at the helm, the Tar Heel women have won 17 national championships and have amassed a record of 511-23-11 (.948) including a 71-4 record in NCAA post-season play. They have won the ACC Championship an unbelievable 15 times in the 16 years it has been conducted since 1987. The Tar Heels amassed a streak of 103 consecutive games without a loss from 1986 through 1990 and another streak of 101 consecutive games without a loss from 1990 through 1994. They have been so dominant that legendary Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith recognized their excellence when he referred to his beloved UNC in a media interview as “a women’s soccer school.”

Not to be content with confining his contributions to the collegiate level, Anson was appointed to be the head coach of the United States Women’s National Team in 1986. While he held that position for eight years, the National Team posted a record of 65-22-5 and reached the pinnacle of success when they shocked the world by sweeping through six games, defeating Norway in the final to earn the first FIFA Women’s World Cup Championship in China in 1991. In his final act as National Team coach in 1994, he directed the U.S. to victory at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the second FIFA World Cup. When he resigned that post in August of 1994 to devote his energy and enthusiasm to the UNC program, he hardly left the National Team cupboard bare. The groundwork had been laid for the future of U.S. women’s soccer. Since so many former Tar Heels would contribute as players or coaches, the U.S. program would be tinted a distinct Carolina blue hue. World Cup silver medalists in 1995…Olympic Gold in Atlanta in 1996…FIFA World Cup Champions in the United States in 1999. He taught his pupils well!

So it comes as no surprise that Anson has earned numerous national coaching honors for both men’s and women’s teams throughout his career. In 1996 he received the highest possible honor from the NCSAA, the Walt Chyzowich Award for lifetime coaching achievement. His influence over coaching education within the nation in general and within North Carolina in particular is certain to become a significant element of the legacy he continues to assemble.

Dorrance Receives 2011 NSCAA Honors Award

UNC women’s coach Anson Dorrance, a member of the N.C. Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2002, receied the National Soccer Coaches Association of America¹s Honor Award for 2010, which is the NSCAA’s highest honor. Dorrance was presented the award at the Association’s annual Awards Banquet, held at the Hilton Baltimore on Friday evening, January 14, in conjunction with the 2011 NSCAA Convention…… Click here for details

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