Nate Norman was named Notre Dame women’s soccer head coach in February 2018 after serving as an assistant on the Irish coaching staff for one season. Norman, who graduated from the University in 2007, is the fifth head coach in women’s soccer program history.
In Norman’s second season in 2019, he got the Irish off to a blazing start, winning their first six games. It was the first six-game win streak since 2014 and the best start to a season since 2015. In the first six games, the Irish outscored opponents 13-1 in those games.
Norman oversaw offensive breakout seasons from juniors Sammi Fisher & Eva Hurm along with sophomore Luisa Delgado. Fisher led the team in goals (6), assists (5) and points (17) while Hurm was second in goals (5) and points (13). Both Fisher and Hurm earned third team All-ACC honors along with United Soccer Coaches All Region second team recognition. Delgado missed the entire season but was an instant impact in 2019, scoring her first career brace in the 4-0 win over Northwestern. Delgado ranked second on the team in assists (4), and third in goals (4) and points (13) in her first true collegiate season.
The Irish defense was much improved thanks to consistency on the back line. With the addition of graduate transfer Autumn Smithers, the line of Smithers, Shannon Hendricks, Jenna Winebrenner and Jade Gosar started all but two games together. The Irish totaled 10 shutouts on the season, the most since the 2016 season. The Notre Dame defense held two opponents (Oakland & Pitt) without any shots for the entire game and limited St. John’s to zero shots on goal.
The Irish returned to the ACC Championship and NCAA Championship in 2019 thanks to the strong start to the season and balanced play during conference play. The Irish knocked off Wake Forest 3-2 in 2OT in the season finale to clinch a berth in the ACC Championship. The Irish were selected to host the first round of the NCAA Tournament and knocked off Saint Louis for the second time in the season, 1-0, thanks to freshman Kiki Van Zanten’s goal in the 41st minute.
In his first season as head coach with the Irish, he inherited a very young team that added 10 newcomers for the second straight season. The freshmen made instant impacts for Norman and the Irish as local product Brooke VanDyck earned the start in the season opener and scored the game-winning goal in the 3-1 win over Central Michigan. Norman had six of the 10 freshmen start during their first season with the Irish and a majority of the class made an impact throughout the season.
The Irish had a strong senior class and group of graduate students to help guide the underclassmen through one of the toughest conferences in women’s college soccer. Norman oversaw Karin Muya return from injury and have her most productive season of her career. She led the Irish in goals with seven and points with 15. Fellow graduate student Sabrina Flores started all 18 games and led the Irish in assists (five) and minutes played (1,522). Seniors Rachel Heard and Shannon Hendricks locked down the back line for the Irish. Hendricks started all 18 games while Heard started 15, missing two games due to injury.
Norman joined the Irish coaching staff in January 2017 after one season at the helm of the Liberty program, where he led the Flames to a 14-8 record and a Big South Tournament Championship in 2016. He saw five student-athletes named to the All-Big South first and second teams, four selected for the conference all-tournament team and two picked for the NSCAA all-region squad.
Prior to his time at Liberty, Norman spent four seasons as head coach at Western Michigan, where he led the Broncos to a 44-27-14 record. He guided the program to two Mid-American Conference tournament titles in 2013 and 2015, and he was named the MAC Coach of the Year and the NSCAA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 2015. Additionally, he saw 16 players named to all-conference squads during his tenure and placed a league-best 17 players on the MAC All-Academic Team in 2015.
The former midfielder was a four-year Monogram winner for Notre Dame men’s soccer head coach Bobby Clark from 2003-06, helping the Irish to the 2003 BIG EAST Tournament title, the 2004 BIG EAST regular-season championship and the 2006 NCAA Championship quarterfinals.
Norman was selected 21st overall by the Chicago Fire in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft and spent one season in Chicago before one-year stints with the United Soccer League’s (USL) Charleston Battery (2008) and Carolina RailHawks (2009). It was during this time that Norman began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant with the Irish men’s program for the 2007-08 season.
In 2009, Norman began as the assistant coach for the men’s program at Division III Covenant College. He also spent one season each as the women’s assistant at Western Michigan (2010) and Miami (Fla.; 2011) before taking the head coaching position with the Broncos.
Norman is a native of Rochester, Michigan, and is married to Rachel Norman, assistant director of sports nutrition for Notre Dame athletics. The couple welcomed their first child in February 2018.