By Ben Strober
After a strong start to their season, Maryland women’s soccer’s bitter 13-game stretch left them with a major decision to make this offseason. With that being said, Maryland announced they will not renew head coach Ray Leone’s contract, and he will no longer be the head coach in College Park.
Leone became the coach of the Terps in 2016, and his first season was a rough one for the team. Maryland finished 3-15-1 and closed out the season on a nine-game losing streak.
Leone’s teams never were quite able to take off. In Leone’s only winning season as head coach, the Terps finished 9-8-3 in 2019 and posted five wins in Big Ten play. This led Maryland to their first-ever Big Ten tournament appearance.
After this hopeful season, things went quickly south for the program. The team concluded the 2021 season with a 4-9-5 record. Also, they were winless in their ten conference games. This leaves Maryland winless against conference opponents for the past 24 games in a row.
That’s just the second largest of any team in Big Ten history, only behind Iowa who was winless in the Big Ten from 2003-2005.
After the 2-1 loss to Michigan last Sunday, Maryland also became the second team to have back-to-back winless seasons in conference play since 1994, when the Big Ten introduced Women’s soccer.
For Leone, it’s an unfortunate story that it never worked out for him and his teams here at Maryland. Leone was able to lead Arizona State, Clemson, and Harvard to NCAA tournament appearances earlier in his career. In his six-year tenure, Leone finished with a record of 27-60-18.
“I’m proud to have coached at the University of Maryland and will always be grateful for having this opportunity of a lifetime to be able to coach at my dream school since I was a kid,” Leone said in his release.
Leone was always very positive about the team. Even after some of those bitter losses and ties this season that they had many chances to win, Leone always preached how proud he was of the team. The end result wasn’t always the main concern. Leone loved when his team fought hard, and played good soccer against some really tough teams.
In the meantime, Kerry Dziczkaniec will serve as the interim coach while the search for a new long-term coach is in progress. Although the season didn’t have the results the Terps had hoped for, the improvement from the year prior was clear as day. So many games, they were so close to breaking the seal on that Big Ten win. Maryland also showed tremendous fights against some really talented teams such as Michigan, Ohio State, and Wake Forest.
A new era of Women’s Soccer is getting ready to commence here in College Park. Maryland will now search for who they feel is best in leading the team for future years.