position Assistant Coach
Former Rhode Island head coach Michael Needham enters his third season as assistant coach with the Buckeyes. Needham spent six seasons as head coach of the Rams from 2011-2016.
In his first season, Needham helped the Buckeyes to their first outright Big Ten championship in program history and was part of Walker-Hock’s staff that earned United Soccer Coaches Midwest Region Staff of the Year accolades. Nikki Walts garnered Big Ten Midfielder of the Year honors while Morgan Wolcott was named the conference’s Defender of the Year and Sammy Edwards joined the duo on the All-Big Ten team. In addition, Wolcott was named a United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American while Walts earned United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American honors.
Last year, Needham helped the Buckeyes advance to their fourth-consecutive NCAA Tournament after tying for third in the Big Ten with a 6-2-3 conference record. Seven Buckeyes garnered Big Ten postseason honors, headlined by 2018 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Devon Kerr. Kerr was joined by Izzy Rodriguez as a first team All-Big Ten selection while Sarah Roberts garnered second team All-Big Ten honors. Kayla Fischer, Emaly Vatne and Talani Barnett each earned Big Ten All-Freshman team laurels while Alyssa Baumbick was the Buckeyes’ Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree. Rodriguez earned first team United Soccer Coaches All-North Region honors, while Kerr was the second team all-region goalkeeper.
Needham amassed 45 wins in his six years in Kingston, helping Rhode Island 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.
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.