Executive Director of Camps, Clinics and Academies
The 20th season of College of Charleston women's soccer will be its third under head coach Christian Michner, who holds a 22-18-2 record as head coach. This includes a 13-7-2 mark in Southern Conference games.
In 2011, Michner saw the team to its winningest season in program history as the Cougars racked up 13 wins en route to a SoCon runner-un finish. CofC picked up non-conference wins over Murray State, Winthrop, Old Dominion and crosstown-rival Charleston Southern before going 7-3-1 in conference play to finish the regular season.
As the tournament No. 3 seed, the Cougars opened with a convincing, 3-0 win over No. 6 Elon at Patriots Point to advance to the semifinals on the campus of UNC Greensboro. There, the Cougars downed Georgia Southern, 4-2, to advance to the program's third-ever championship game. The match was highly contested but No. 1 seeded Samford provided the lone score with less than three minutes remaining to claim the win.
Michner's team placed three players on the all-conference team and three on the all-tournament team as well. The offense he has implemented led the Southern Conference in goals scored with 44 over the 2011 season.
Michner has been building a program which looks to compete and continually assess itself against the finest competition in the nation. Following the 2012 season, the Cougars will have played three of the four national semifinalists from the 2011 Final Four.
In his first season with the Cougars, Michner led the Cougars to a 9-10-1 mark including a 6-4-1 record in the Southern Conference. The Cougars finished the regular season as the fourth-place team and earned home-field advantage in the opening round of the SoCon Championships.
Michner picked up his first head coaching win when the Cougars downed Charleston Southern, 3-2, at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island, S.C., on August 23, 2010.
"Returning to College of Charleston is a dream come true for me and my family," said Michner, who earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from The College. "It's a wonderful university in a beautiful city, and you get the sense immediately that there is something really special happening here with the women's soccer program."
Michner, a CofC alumnus, returned to his alma mater after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois under head coach Janet Rayfield. The Illini we were ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation and produced six All-Americans, 11 All-Big Ten First Team selections and 51 Academic All-Big Ten honorees during Michner's Tenure.
Prior to joining the Illinois staff, Michner spent one season as an associate head coach and three as an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma under head coach Randy Evans.
Michner has a wealth of soccer experience both as a coach and a player. He spent two years as a member of the U.S. U-20 National Team and his coaching resume includes stints with the Cal South Olympic Development Program and multiple youth soccer leagues across the country. Michner attained his U.S. Soccer Federation "A" Coaching License in 2006 and NSCAA Premier Diploma in 2010. He is also a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and U.S. Soccer Federation.
A 1998 graduate, Michner played for current men's soccer head coach Ralph Lundy from 1996-98 after transferring from Creighton University. After graduation on the Cistern, he played five years in the professional ranks with the Colorado Rapids, San Jose Clash, San Francisco Bay Seals, Seattle Sounders, El Paso Patriots and San Diego Flash.
He is married to the former Sarah Popper, who was an NSCAA First Team All-American at the University of Connecticut and played professionally in the Women's United Soccer Association with the Boston Breakers. They are the proud parents of two sons, a three-year-old named Caelen and Brooks who was born on July 5, 2011.
"Christian Michner is a man who is passionate about the game of soccer," Director of Athletics Joe Hull said. "He loves the game and lives the game. He had a terrific background as a player and has learned how to teach the game from some of the very best coaches."
Associate Director of Camps, Clinics and Academies
Sarah Michner , fomerly Sarah Popper, was an assistant coach for the University of Louisville women's soccer team from 2005-2006, following a stellar playing career at Connecticut and with the WUSA's Boston Breakers.
At Connecticut she was a 2002 NSCAA First Team All-American and First Team All-BIG EAST at UCONN as co-captain her senior season, leading the Huskies to a BIG EAST championship. She was a BIG EAST First Team selection as a junior and a member of the All-BIG EAST Rookie Team as a freshman. Michner was tabbed as the 27th overall pick in the 2003 WUSA draft by the Breakers and played there for two seasons. She was also selected to the U18 and U21 National Pools as a youth player.
She graduated from UCONN in 2003 with a degree in sports marketing, and began her coaching career as a student assistant at UCONN for a season and a volunteer coach for another season. She has coached youth club teams in Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Illinois in addition to being involved in Region I and II Olympic Development Programs at both the state and regional levels.
She currently holds her Unite States Soccer Federation "D" License.
Tracy Chao begins her second year as an assistant coach on the College of Charleston women's soccer team. Chao comes to CofC with a wealth of experience in a wide variety of roles which will tremendously help the Cougars continue to reach new heights.
"I am very excited about this opportunity," said Chao. "This is an amazing time to be a Cougar and part of this amazing family. I look forward to being a part of this tradition and taking this program to the next level where we will contend for not only Southern Conference titles but national championships and beyond."
Most recently, Chao was an assistant women's soccer coach at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., where she operated in a wide range of capacities within the Pac-12 - then Big 12 - program. Chao designed and implemented training programs, maintained scouting databases, identified and recruited prospective student-athletes, prepared scouting reports of opponents and more. During her three years with the program, Chao saw the team qualify for the Big 12 Tournament three times, appear in the NCAA Tournament, knock of two top-10 teams and produce a multitude of all-conference honorees and eventual draft picks.
Prior to her time at the University of Colorado, Chao served as the head coach of the Colorado Force of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, the longest standing and highest level of women's soccer leagues in North America.
Chao was also the long standing head coach of the Colorado Storm Soccer Association, member of Colorado Youth Soccer, United States Youth Soccer, and Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).
From 2005-08, Chao served as the first assistant coach of the University of Northern Colorado women's soccer coach. She assisted and contributed in all facets of the Division I women's soccer program including coaching, recruiting, scouting, organizing camps, financial planning, coordinating travel, conducting academic meetings and creating summer fitness packets.
Chao also worked at Wake Forest University, her alma mater, as an assistant to the Senior Women's Administrator and Director of Women's Basketball Operations. In these roles, Chao maintained and refined recruiting and telephone logs for each of the coaches as well as the up keeping of ACC and NCAA regulations. She also coordinated travel arrangements and handled finances for the women's basketball team and managed fundraising events such as the Three-Point Attack on Breast Cancer and Jam the Joel Coliseum.
After her stint at Wake Forest, Chao spent time as an intern for men's and women's basketball championships at the Atlantic Coast Conference. She assisted the ACC commissioners for both men's and women's basketball by assuring the conference's bylaws were upheld by each school as well as scheduling of officials and preparing for the conference tournament.
As a player at Wake Forest, Chao was both a defender and goalkeeper who saw the Demon Deacons to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of her four seasons with the squad and a Sweet-16 appearance in her freshman campaign in 1999.
During the 2000 season, Chao was named to Soccer America's Team of the Week and the ACC Player of the Week and was eventually named her team's Most Valuable Player for that year.
Chao's impressive playing career at Wake Forest opened the door for her to play beyond the collegiate level with the Fort Collins Force and the Mile High Edge, both of which are W-League teams out of Colorado. She was a team captain on both squads and saw them to third and fourth place finishes in the Western Conference.
"When we opened the search for a new assistant coach we knew that there would be a lot of interest in the position," said CofC head coach Christian Michner. "With almost 300 applications submitted, we had an amazing pool of coaches to speak with about the job, our program and where we are headed. After speaking with Tracy it became clear that she had everything we were looking for in an assistant coach.
"Her passion for the game and her dynamic personality are evident from the moment you meet her. She has great playing experience at a top program in the ACC as well as coaching experience in the Big 12, PAC 12 and as a W-League head coach. I couldn't be happier to have Tracy join our staff and know that she will play a vital role in our program in every aspect."
Chao holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) "C" Coaching License and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) State Diploma and State Goalkeeping Diploma.
Hallie Briggs begins her second season as an assistant coach at the College of Charleston. Prior to Charleston, she coached for 6 seasons at Appalachian State University which included 5 as an assistant and 1 as a head coach. In her four-year playing career at App. State, Briggs played in 43 matches at midfield for the Apps before having her senior season cut short by a knee injury.
A native of Boca Raton, Fla, Briggs graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where she was a member of the 1999 State Champion, 2001 State Finalist and 2002 State runner-up teams. She was also a 2002 Miami-Herald All county team selection and played for Broward County Hall of fame coach Carlos Giron.
Briggs played club soccer with Team Boca from 1994-99, Weston Soccer Club in 2000 and Coral Springs Renegades in 2001.
Briggs has also played internationally, taking second place in the Dana Cup in Denmark, second in Italy's Renaissance Cup and first in Ireland's Emerald Cup.
She has earned her NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.