Sitch is the first woman to lead men to the NCAA soccer title

CHICAGO — Julianne Sitch made history so beautifully that she decided to do it twice on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the University of Chicago head soccer coach made history after becoming the first woman ever to lead a men’s soccer team to an NCAA Final Four appearance in any division.

But after a 1-0 double-overtime win over the no defeated 2-0, making her the first female head coach to lead a men’s soccer program to a national championship.

“The credit goes to the team. I mean these guys have never had a female coach before and
they embraced me as one of their own. For me, this will always be a moment of gratitude,” Sitch said during the post-game press conference. “I’m very proud to see them play. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, they show up every day…the energy, the support, the togetherness, that’s a team.”

The accomplishment comes as statistics show that the percentage of female head coaches in the NCAA — even in women’s sports — has declined over the years. In 1970-71, 90% of all head coaches on women’s athletic teams were women, compared to 2021-22 where women held only 43.7% of the same positions in NCAA Division I.

Sitch is only the second woman to serve as a coach for one of the 415 NCAA DIII men’s football programs.

With Saturday’s win, the University of Chicago ended the year 22-0-1 — setting the school record for wins — while also winning the university’s second NCAA team title in school history.

“This is a special moment. I think the moment that will stay with me is after [Forward Ryan Yetishefsky] scored that goal,” said senior defender Griffin Wada. “We all ran to that sideline and it was all alumni that we played with and we’ve seen games in the past and they’ve all celebrated with us. This is a special moment.” Sitch is the first woman to lead men to the NCAA soccer title

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