The Loras legacy is strong in the soccer coaching staff. For the 2016 season, the women’s soccer team welcomes the promotion of Matthew Pucci as their new head coach after seven years of coaching with Loras soccer.
Originally from Libertyville, IL, Pucci attended Loras College and graduated in 2008 with a degree in public relations before going on to pursue his masters in management from Misericordia University in Dallas, PA, in 2010. From his time as a student at Loras where he helped coach the local Hempstead and Wahlert High Schools’ men’s team, Pucci knew coaching was what he wanted to do for a living. From there he went on to coach at Misericordia University for two years before returning to Loras in 2010 as a men’s assistant.
Since returning to his alma mater, the men have won five regular season conference titles and five conference tournament titles with six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. These accomplishments all served as a precursor to three appearances in the Final Four and a National Championship game in 2015.
As a player, Pucci was a four-year varsity forward for the Duhawks. His senior year, he lead the team as captain to the program’s first NCAA Tournament Final Four in 2007, after going 23-0-2. Due to his success in conference and postseason, Pucci was named to the NSCAA All-Region First Team, the D3soccer.com All-Region First Team, the All-Conference First Team, and still holds a spot in the top 10 for goals scored in a career.
As a coach, Pucci brings a motivational factor to the coaching staff.
“People probably say I’m loud. I just try to get the most out of every athlete on the team and hold everyone to high standards,” said Pucci.
Looking toward the season ahead, Pucci is optimistic and confident when faced with a competitive schedule.
“Take each game at a time and improve as a team every day. We have a very tough schedule and can’t look too far ahead,” said Pucci.
Like the men, the women have had a great deal of success in the recent past. Since 2010, they have won four Iowa Conference Regular Season Championships, appearing and winning in the four corresponding Iowa Conference Tournament Championships. They also advanced to four NCAA Tournaments in the process, making it to the Sweet 16 level in 2010 and 2012.
Pucci and the rest of the coaching staff reflect upon these successes and strive to re-create them in the style of the 2016 team.