Juliana Zavala Named Assistant Women's Soccer Coach
April 11, 2013
CHICAGO - Head women's soccer coach Brian Rigby announced the hiring of Juliana Zavala as UIC's first-ever assistant coach on Thursday. Zavala was a standout player in the city of Chicago during her prep days, and played collegiately at both Northwestern State and Northern Illinois.
"Juliana is a great addition to UIC and our women's soccer family," said Rigby. "It was important for me to find a person who not only can teach, and understands the game of soccer, but a person who is familiar with the city and surrounding areas of Chicago. Juliana's ability to recruit and attract local players to UIC will be valuable to our program."
During the 2011 season, Zavala served as a graduate assistant women's soccer coach at Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark. She joined the UIC Athletic Department last fall as an Account Executive in the Ticket Operations unit.
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with Coach Rigby and be part of a new program here at UIC," said Zavala. "Coach Rigby has a great vision for the team and is determined to build a championship program right away. I share his vision and look forward to working with him and being part of a new family."
Zavala was a standout prep player at Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago, collecting All-State honors in three-consecutive seasons. She began her college career at Northern Illinois in 2003, before transferring to Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La., where she completed her final three years of eligibility (2004-06).
Zavala enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in NSU women's soccer history. She totaled 64 points, including 27 goals. At the conclusion of her junior season (2005), Zavala was named the recipient of the inaugural Golden Ball Award, which is awarded annually to the top collegiate point-scorer among all of the Division I schools in the state of Louisiana.
She was also an All-Southland Conference First-Team selection in 2005 after scoring 13 goals, including a pair of game-winners, and totaling 32 points. She scored the game-winning goal in the Southland Conference Tournament final to propel the Demons into the NCAA Tournament. Zavala was also recognized as an "All-Louisiana" First-Team honoree at the conclusion of the 2005 campaign.
In her rookie season at NSU in 2004, she led the Demons in scoring, tallying nine goals and 19 points and was named to the Southland Conference All-Tournament Team.
After her playing career Zavala worked as a personal trainer, physical therapy tech and a club coach at the Chicago Sports Zone and Chicago Storm Academy. During her time in Jonesboro, she also coached for the Arkansas Rush Youth Club. In 2008, Zavala served as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Kelly High School. She graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in health and exercise science from Northwestern State in 2007, and received her Master's degree from ASU last spring.
UIC's women's soccer program is in its first year of existence. Athletic Director Jim Schmidt announced the addition of UIC's 20th sport in November 2012. The team will begin official competition in the fall of 2014.