The United States Sports Academy is excited to announce the hiring of veteran collegiate coach Ray Leone as its inaugural Head Women’s Soccer Coach. Leone joins the Eagles with an extensive 38-year career coaching at major Division I schools, such as Creighton, Clemson, Arizona State, Harvard, and Maryland. In Leone’s highly decorated coaching career, he has won six conference titles, two conference Coach of the Year awards, and has led four different schools to post season play. With 24 winning seasons and 309 head coaching wins, Leone is placed in the top-25 winningest coaches among active Division I head coaches. Leone has coached 25 professional players, Olympic gold medalists, and World Champions. Leone is also a 1990 graduate of USSA with a master of sports science degree.

“I am excited to welcome Ray Leone as our inaugural women’s head soccer coach” said Assistant Director of Athletics Taylor Rogers. “His exceptional coaching pedigree aligns seamlessly with his passion for the game. With his down-to-earth approach and a deep understanding of the game, he is not just leading the team; he is guiding us to success through his passion and skills. Here’s to an exciting journey of progress and success.”

Leone comes to the United States Sports Academy from Northern Arizona University where he serves as the Recruiting Coordinator and Assistant Coach. Prior to NAU, Leone served as the Female College Placement Coordinator and Assistant Coach at IMG Academy. He assisted the IMG U-19 women’s program that won the school’s first ever National Championship in July of 2022.

“I am honored to be named the first Head Women’s Soccer Coach at my Alma Mater, the United States Sports Academy,” said Ray Leone. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to start something special where you proudly went to school. I believed in USSA as soon as I stepped foot onto campus, and I look forward to bringing in student-athletes that see the same potential that I see. We want student-athletes that are looking for a cutting-edge education in the ever-growing sports world while playing the game they love. We will play with a team first mentality and develop not only their athletic abilities but their leadership skills on and off the field of play.”

Before IMG Academy, Leone coached at the University of Maryland from 2016 to 2021. While there, Leone guided the team to its first ever Big Ten Tournament in 2019. The team was awarded the President’s Cup as the top academic women’s team for the first time in program history.

In 2007, Leone began his nine-year stint at Harvard highlighted by five Ivy League Championships and five appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Leone coached 22 First-Team All-Ivy League selections, 16 Second Team All-League selections, four Ivy League Players of the Year, and four Ivy League Rookies of the Year. With that, Leone was named Ivy League Coach of the Year in 2014.

Before his time in Cambridge, Leone served as head coach at Arizona State from 2000-2006. While there, the Sun Devils posted 60 wins, made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and achieved a school record No. 9 national ranking in 2004. Leone coached nine All-Pac 12 honorees while breaking a school record of 11 student-athletic on the Academic All-Pac 12 team in 2005.

Leone was a coach at Clemson from 1994 to 2000, serving as an assistant for five years before becoming the head coach in 2000. In his season as head coach, the Tigers won a school record 19 games and an ACC regular season championship. The team started the season with 12 straight wins, breaking North Carolina’s 37-game ACC winning streak. During his seven years at Clemson, the teams finished in the nation’s top-15 each season and produced 20 All-ACC selections. Additionally, the 1994 squad was the first team in NCAA women’s soccer history to make the NCAA tournament in its first varsity season.

Leone’s coaching career began at Berry College (GA) in 1986 and Creighton University in 1989, where he started the varsity programs from inception point. At Berry, Leone became the only coach to take a first-year program to a national championship game in college soccer history. In its second season, Leone’s squad won the NAIA National Championship, and he earned National Coach of the Year honors. Leone finished his time at Berry with a 49-13-5 record. During his five years at Creighton, Leone guided the Bluejays to a top-five regional ranking.

Ray was a three-year lettered athlete in soccer at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where the team won the Sun Belt Conference Championship in 1983. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

“I want to thank President Dr. Steve Condon, Associate Director of Athletics Shealynn Miller, and Assistant Director of Athletics Taylor Rogers for entrusting me with this incredible task of building USSA’s inaugural women’s soccer team this fall,” shared Ray Leone. “I cannot wait to put my feet on the ground in beautiful Daphne, Alabama and get going. I also want to thank Alan Berrios and the entire NAU women’s soccer program for my wonderful experience in Flagstaff, AZ. I wish them all the best in the years to come.”

What Others Are Saying:

Amy Lepeilbet: 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2-Time WPS Defender of the Year and 2-Time NWSL Champion

“I really enjoyed playing for Ray at Arizona State. He created a very competitive and fun team environment, which I thrived in! He also was very good at making college soccer special. After the long-playing career I had, still to this day some of my favorite soccer memories are from my college soccer days at ASU. That is a credit to the team culture that Ray had a big piece in creating.”

Bob Warming – Previous Men’s Soccer Coach at Berry College, UNC – Charlotte, Creighton University, St. Louis University, Penn State University, University of Nebraska – Ohama; All-Time Winningest NCAA Division I Coach and 2-Time National Coach of the Year

“There is simply no one on the planet more qualified than Ray to get the United States Sports Academy women’s soccer program off to an amazing start. He is the only person I know who has started three collegiate programs from inception and they became terrific places to play. He is a master at establishing the right culture and mentality. These two program characteristics are the two most challenging in our profession and no one is better than Ray Leone at doing this. I have long admired him as an exceptional coach, leader, and man. The United States Sports Academy is so fortunate, and the women that play for him will have an amazing experience!”

Carol Chilton – 4-Time NAIA All-American and 2-Time NAIA National Champion Player at Berry College: “I had the privilege of having Ray as my coach at the beginning of his career. Not only is he one of the most dedicated and enthusiastic people I know for the sport of soccer, but he also has the gift of spreading this love to his players. He not only creates a team but more importantly, a family. A family that supports and encourages one another on and off of the field.”

Chris Hamblin – Harvard Head Women’s Soccer Coach: “Ray is a proven winner at every level he has coached. However, more importantly, he is a leader that builds a foundation for development, facilitates a shared vision, and drives a culture of success. This opportunity to create a program is perfect for Ray and I look forward to following his success.”

Sheri Bueter Hauser: 3-Time First -Team All-ACC Tournament Selection and Clemson Hall of Famer.

“As a former player under Ray’s guidance, I cannot emphasize enough the dedication and value he brings to collegiate women’s soccer coaching. His commitment to his players extends far beyond the field, creating a supportive and positive environment that fosters personal growth alongside athletic development. Ray’s mentorship was pivotal in my own journey, where his guidance and encouragement not only elevated my skills on the field but also instilled invaluable life lessons I use daily even after all these years.”