July 10, 2002
Szpara joins the Broncos as the team's goalkeeper coach and will begin work on the Mission Campus in August.
This hiring completes the women's soccer coaching staff. Mike Smith was hired last month and replaced former associate head coach Richard Manning, who left in February to accept the head coaching position at Utah. Smith and Szpara join Erin Hussey, who was hired in May in a newly-created assistant position.
Szpara, who was most recently in her second season as a goalkeeper for the WUSA's San Jose CyberRays, is a San Jose native who has also coached at Stanford, California and Cornell.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to join the Bronco program," Szpara said. "I've known Jerry for a long time and have always respected what he's done with the program here at Santa Clara and look forward to furthering my soccer education as a member of his staff."
As a player, Szpara was a four-time all-America netminder at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs. She earned six caps with the U.S. Women's National Team during the 1986 and '87 seasons before graduating in 1989 with a degree of Arts in History. In 1986, Szpara's Colorado College team advanced to the NCAA College Cup, losing 2-0 to a North Carolina team that included April Heinrichs, the current U.S. Women's National Team coach. Szpara was also the adidas Goalkeeper of the Year in 1988.
After graduation, Szpara returned to the Bay Area and was an assistant coach at Stanford in the fall of 1989. Midway through the '90 season, she moved across the Bay and began coaching at California, where she remained through the 1992 season.
From 1995-99, she played professionally in Japan for Shiroki Serena, which Bronco alumna Brandi Chastain also played for, and the Takarazuka Bunnies, with whom she made the L-League All-Star Team in 1998.
Szpara was an assistant at Cornell during the 2000 season before joining the CyberRays as a free agent in 2001.
The Broncos open the 2002 season against Bay Area rival Stanford on Friday, August 31. The match will take place at Buck Shaw Stadium at 7:30 p.m.