WNE soccer coach enjoys success during anniversary season

Dec. 11, 2013
SPRINGFIELD – The Western New England University (WNE) women’s soccer program celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013 and coach Ron Dias, a Wilbraham resident, has been the coach for 20 of those seasons.

This past fall he led his young squad to a 9-7-4 record for its best showing in three years. The Golden Bears placed seventh in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) with a 3-3-3 ledger. Not bad for a team that had 14 sophomores and six freshmen on the 20-player roster, and that was coming off an 8-11-1 performance the previous year.

Highlights included a first-place finish at the Husson Classic to open the season and a 5-0 mark in matches decided by a single goal. WNE was the only team to defeat first-place Endicott in regular season conference action and almost pulled off the upset of the year by tying second-place Roger Williams 1-1 who was ranked 19th nationally at the time.

Dias, 67, joined the Golden Bears staff in 1994 and inherited a program that had suffered eight prior losing campaigns. He quickly turned things around as his first squad posted an 8-10 record for the second highest win total since becoming a varsity program in 1984.

WNE then enjoyed eight consecutive winning seasons with the 1998 team compiling a school best 20-2 mark and winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Metro Tournament. The next season WNE posted a 14-8-1 record, won the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament title, and participated in the program’s first NCAA Division III Championship.

A native of Ludlow, Dias has a 230-163-25 record for a 58.0 winning percentage against many of the top squads in the region. He has been on the sideline for 82 percent of the program’s 280 victories. The Keene State graduate was inducted into the WNE Downes Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

Along the way he has earned the admiration and respect from players, coaches, and administrators.

“Ron has the great ability to coach women like men and treat them like women,” WNE golf coach Bill Downes, of Hampden, said. “In my mind, he is the best women’s soccer coach in Western Massachusetts.”

According to senior co-captain Amanda Waluszko ’14, “Coach treats all of us like we are his own daughters. He goes out of his way to help his players on and off the field. I really enjoyed my four years playing for him.”

Wentworth athletics director and former women’s soccer coach Angela Ayres stated, “I have had the pleasure of knowing and competing against Coach Dias for seven seasons. During that time our teams always had great competitive battles. I have a true respect for Coach Dias. We could always count on him to tell us exactly how he felt and I always admired his honesty and clear point of views. You always knew where he stood on topics in our conference. I wish coach the best and another 20 seasons of coaching.”

Dias downplays his accomplishments, instead focusing on the student-athletes who have contributed to the team’s success over the past two decades.

“Women’s soccer program has evolved into a very competitive program. I consider myself very lucky to have coached here for the last 20 years. Over that time, I have coached some wonderful young ladies and a great many outstanding student athletes. Women’s soccer was the first women’s team here to win an ECAC championship in 1998. We were also the first women’s team to compete in the NCAA Championship in 1999. The program has won five conference championships, participated in four NCAA championships, four ECAC Championships, and the team has been to every conference tournament since 1995. All of our success can be attributed to the young ladies who have worn the WNE colors,” Dias said.

“Coaching young women is very different from coaching men. I have struggled at times trying to understand the feminine mindset, but the one thing I know is that they are passionate about the sport and play just has hard as any male player. I have always tried to treat my players as just that, players,” he said. “I expect them to train hard and play hard. Soccer is the one sport that does not make concessions in its rules for women. I have always tried to show my players the utmost respect and gratitude for participating and playing at Western New England no matter what their skill level.”

Comments From Our Readers:

Reminder Publications, Inc. 280 North Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028 • Tel: 413.525.6661 • Fax 413.525.5882

Web Design by