Ducks name Graeme Abel Head Coach


EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon has hired Graeme Abel, an assistant coach for the 2015 and 2019 FIFA World Cup champion U.S. Women’s National Team, as the Ducks’ women’s soccer head coach, director of athletics Rob Mullens announced Monday.

“We were incredibly fortunate to be able to hire one of the top coaches in the country at any level, be it college, professional or international,” said Mullens. “Graeme’s experience coaching some of the best soccer players in the world, his commitment to the student-athlete experience and his vision to elevate Oregon soccer to an elite level made him the perfect fit.  We are excited to welcome Graeme and his family to the Ducks’ family.”

The program’s fourth head coach of the modern era takes over a team that went 5-9-5 (1-8-2 Pac-12) in 2019.

“Leading the women’s soccer program at the University of Oregon was something that was too good of an opportunity to pass up,” said Abel. “I have been very fortunate over the past five years to work alongside both world class athletes and coaches who continually set new standards for women’s soccer.

“I now have the privilege of continuing my coaching journey with a university and athletic department that strive to raise the bar with innovation and resources to continually evolve the student-athlete experience. I believe there is no greater environment in collegiate sports to ensure we create the ultimate student-athlete experience than at the University of Oregon. It is now our job to make sure we fulfill the promise and potential shown within this program.”

Abel joined the staff of U.S. head coach Jill Ellis as an assistant coach in February of 2015 and helped Team USA navigate through seven World Cup matches, eventually setting numerous records in defeating Japan, 5-2, in the championship match to win the United States’ first World Cup title in 16 years.

The team went 6-0-1 during the course of the tournament, which was played on artificial turf in Canada, and allowed opponents just three goals.

The 2019 World Cup in France marked one of the most dominant performances by any nation. Team USA went undefeated, 7-0, and outscored the opposition 26-3. The Americans defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in the championship match to claim back-to-back World Cup titles.

Abel was also on the staff of the U.S. Women’s National Teams that won the 2016 and 2018 CONCACAF titles and was also part of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I’d like to thank Jill Ellis, Tony Gustavsson, Steve Swanson and Dawn Scott,” said Abel. “Working alongside the best coaching staff in the world was a game-changer for my career. The planning, preparation and attention to detail was unmatched. There is no greater environment in the professional game.”
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Abel worked extensively with numerous women’s national youth programs during his time with Team USA. He was an assistant for the U-20 U.S. Women’s National Team at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papa New Guinea and also served as an assistant for the U-17 U.S. Women’s National Team from 2012 to 2015.

Prior to joining U.S. Soccer, Abel spent eight seasons coaching collegiately. He was an associate head coach for Oklahoma’s 2014 NCAA Tournament team, part of his two stints with the Sooners from 2008 to 2010 and 2012 to 2015. He helped lead Washington State to the 2011 NCAA Tournament during his tenure as an assistant coach from 2010 to 2012. Before Oklahoma and Washington State, Abel worked three years as an assistant for Nevada from 2005 to 2007.

Abel began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 2004 at his alma mater, Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky.

During his youth soccer years in Great Britain, Abel was on the books at Everton FC from 1994 to 1997. He also played with Stockport County FC from 1997 to 1999 before coming to the United States to attend college at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky. He was an NAIA All-American as a freshman at Lindsey Wilson and named the 1999 NAIA National Tournament MVP after leading the Blue Raiders to the national championship.

In 2001, he went back to England to play for Chester City FC, but then returned to college, this time at Brescia where he was once again an NAIA All-American and a two-time Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year.

Abel has a USSF “B” Coaching License and an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.

Abel and his wife, the former Katie Schoene, who played collegiately under Tara Erickson at Portland State and was a volunteer assistant coach under Erickson at Oregon in 2007, have two children, a 5-year-old son, Kian, and a 3-year-old daughter, Lila.

“My family and I would like to thank Rob Mullens and senior women’s administrator Lisa Peterson for the opportunity to take this program to new heights,” said Abel. “They have created a culture within the department that fits our vision.

“We have footsteps to follow in the standards set by our other programs here at Oregon. We want to join those programs quickly among the nation’s elite. We can’t wait to get started.”