Robbie Church announced Monday the addition of Erwin van Bennekom as assistant coach, effective immediately.DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University women’s soccer head coach
A native of The Netherlands, van Bennekom comes to Durham with nearly 16 years of coaching experience, including the professional and collegiate levels.
“Billy Lesesne did a phenomenal job with our program over the last 14 years and we want to thank him for his time and effort he put in,” said Church. “We are excited to welcome Erwin to Duke. His passion and knowledge of the game along with his ability to communicate with our student-athletes, the new ideas he has brought and his tireless work rate has been a burst of energy to our program. He has done a great job and we are really excited to have him join our women’s soccer family.”
Van Bennekom spent the last year with the Alabama women’s soccer program. In one season, he helped guide the Tide to a 10-7-3 mark in 2014, which was a four-win improvement from the year before (6-12).
"I am honored and humbled that coach Church reached out to me to be a part of his coaching staff at Duke University,” said van Bennekom. "I will give the women's soccer program everything I have and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead in the ACC. We have an incredible combination of world class academics, a terrific team culture, fantastic facilities and resources. I am thrilled to be here."
Prior to and following last season’s campaign with Alabama, van Bennekom served as the assistant coach of Sky Blue FC for the 2013 and 2015 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) seasons under head coach Jim Gabarra. The Sky Blue FC squad advanced to the NWSL playoffs in 2013.
During his time there, he coached United States National Team and Olympic gold medalists Christie Rampone, Kelly O’Hara and Jillian Loyden. He also coached Duke alumna Kim DeCesare along with multiple other national team players from all over the world (Australia, Canada, Denmark, and Mexico) and U-23 and U-20 U.S. National team players.
Van Bennekom spent three seasons (2011-13) with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) women’s soccer team, where he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. While there, van Bennekom helped the Highlanders go from a record of 2-17 in 2011 to 8-10-1 in 2013.
He served as the director of girl’s coaching for STA Soccer Club, based out of Morristown, N.J., in 2013.
From 2010-13, van Bennekom was the head coach for several teams in the Women’s Premier Soccer League, including the Jersey Blues (Sky Blue FC reserve team), which he led to an impressive 16-1-1 record. He coached the Real New Jersey SC Power and NJ Elite `95, both top-ranked club teams in the country.
Van Bennekom is a 2004 graduate of De Haagse Hogeschool and the KNVB (translated in English as Royal Dutch Football Association) Academy in his home country, which is renowned worldwide for its player and coach development program.
A standout player on the pitch as van Bennekom competed in a variety of semi-professional leagues in the United States from 2006-09. He also played in the first division of the National Futsal League in Holland from 2002-04. Growing up, van Bennekom was a member of Holland’s youth academy club system.
He holds a UEFA “B” and UEFA “C” License, KNVB TC2 & KNVB TC3 License, US Soccer USSF “A” & “B” License, Rene Meulensteen Technical Training Diploma, Raymond Verheyen Football Periodization Certificate and is currently working towards his UEFA A Diploma.