Former Sky Blue FC assistant coach joins Alabama staff
Erwin van Bennekom begins his first season with the Alabama soccer program in 2014.
A native of The Netherlands, which is also home to a pair of Alabama players in Pia Rijsdijk and Merel van Dongen, van Bennekom comes to Tuscaloosa with nearly 15 years of coaching experience, including the professional and collegiate levels.
"I am extremely honored, excited and appreciative to have the opportunity to be part of such a tremendous academic and athletic institution at the University of Alabama," van Bennekom said. "I'm equally excited to have the opportunity to work with Todd Bramble and (assistant coach) Jason Lowe. Todd's vision for the Alabama's soccer program goes exactly with my thoughts, values and vision on the game and I look forward to being part of it."
Most recently, van Bennekom served as the assistant coach of Sky Blue FC of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) under head coach Jim Gabarra. During his time there, he coached United States National Team and Olympic gold medalists Christie Rampone, Kelly O'Hara and Jillian Loyden.
In addition to his duties with Sky Blue FC, van Bennekom also served and spent three seasons (2011-13) with New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) women's soccer team, where he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. While there, van Bennekom helped the Highlanders go from a record of 2-17 in 2011 to 8-10-1 this past season.
He also served as the director of girls coaching for STA Soccer Club, based out of Morristown, N.J., in 2013.
From 2010-13, van Bennekom was the head coach for several teams in the Women's Premier Soccer League, including the Jersey Blues (Sky Blue FC reserve team), which he led to an impressive 16-1-1 record. He also coached the Real New Jersey SC Power and NJ Elite '95, both top-ranked club teams in the country.
"We consider ourselves fortunate to have attracted a coach of Erwin's caliber," Bramble said. "It is clear he will help us in many facets of our program. We will benefit immediately from his intelligence, strong work ethic and passion for the game. It's exciting as well that he is coming off a season of working with some of the best players in the world at Sky Blue FC in the NWSL. That perspective is invaluable as he begins working with our players here."
Van Bennekom is a graduate of De Haagse Hogeschool and the KNVB (translated in English as Royal Dutch Football Association) Academy in his home country, which is renowned worldwide for its player and coach development program.
Erwin holds a UEFA "B" and "C" License, KNVB Trainer Coach II & III License, US Soccer USSF "B" License, NSCAA Youth Diploma and Rene Meulensteen Technical Training Diploma.