One would be hard-pressed to find a coach who made as big of an impact in her first season as Amanda Cromwell. Eight months after being hired on Apr. 12, 2013 as the fifth head coach in UCLA women’s soccer history, Cromwell led her team to the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship.
Cromwell’s 2013 Bruins finished the season with a 22-1-3 record and went unbeaten over their last 21 games. They gave up just one goal during the NCAA Tournament and only eight goals all season, leading the nation in goals against average (0.296). In addition to winning the national championship, the team won the Pac-12 title and tied the school record for most victories in a season. Abby Dahlkemper won the Honda Award, and three Bruins earned All-America honors, with five receiving first-team NSCAA All-Region honors. Cromwell herself was named Soccer America’s Coach of the Year, the first-such honor for a UCLA women’s soccer coach.
Year two of the Cromwell era was nearly as successful, as the Bruins went undefeated in their first 23 games before falling to Virginia in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Still, the Bruins earned a 21-1-2 record, won a second-straight Pac-12 title, set multiple school records, and accumulated a plethora of awards, including the Honda Award for Sam Mewis and a school-record four NSCAA All-America honors. Cromwell earned NSCAA Pacific Region Coach of the Year honors.
Although the 2015 Bruins went 8-10-1 after losing nine starters, Cromwell quickly put the pieces in place to rebuild, signing a blockbuster recruiting class in February 2016 that included three Top 10 players, led by U.S. National Team starter Mal Pugh, Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Jessie Fleming and U.S. Under-20 National Team standout Marley Canales. Although Pugh and Canales sat out the 2016 season while with the U-20s, Fleming and her freshman teammates, six of whom were in the starting lineup in the postseason, led the Bruins to a 15-5-2 record and to the NCAA Round of 16, where they were eliminated on penalty kicks to the No. 1 overall seed West Virginia. Fleming went on to earn NSCAA All-America honors, and senior Darian Jenkins, who suffered a season-ending leg injury in early October, earned NSCAA All-Region acclaim.
In addition to coaching, Cromwell was also instrumental in securing a $5-million dollar donation for the transformation of the North Athletic Field into the new home for UCLA Soccer, which will be named the Wallis Annenberg Stadium.
Cromwell came to UCLA in 2013 after 14 years as head coach at the University of Central Florida. From 1999-2012, she guided the Knights to a 203-83-26 record, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, four Atlantic Sun Tournament championships, four Conference USA regular-season titles and the 2012 C-USA tournament title. Cromwell’s Knights made a NCAA Elite Eight run in 2011 that included a defeat of North Carolina in the third round. Cromwell’s UCF players earned 96 all-conference honors and 38 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Region selections. They also amassed nearly 300 conference academic awards during her 14 years in Orlando, including 10 NSCAA Women’s Collegiate Scholar All-American awards and one Senior CLASS Award.
Prior to Central Florida, Cromwell was head coach at University of Maryland-Baltimore County from 1996-97 and an assistant coach at the University of Virginia from 1992-94.
With 289 career victories and a .698 winning percentage at the close of the 2016 season, Cromwell currently ranks among the top-25 winningest active coaches and the top-30 all-time winningest coaches in NCAA history.
A native of Annandale, Va., Cromwell attended the University of Virginia and was the captain of the 1991 Cavaliers team that advanced to the Final Four. She was a two-time All-America selection, a finalist for the 1991 Hermann Trophy and a four-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference honoree.
Following her standout career in Charlottesville, Cromwell earned 55 caps while representing the U.S. Women’s National Team. She was a member of the United States’ 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup team and an alternate for the U.S. Olympic team in 1996. She later played professionally for the Washington Freedom, Atlanta Beat and the San Jose CyberRays of the Women’s United Soccer Association and was inducted into the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame.
Cromwell has served as a member of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee and U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, and from 2002 to 2006, she was a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She is also a member of the coaching staff that the State Department sends as an envoy to other countries to empower girls and women through soccer.