|Position:||Associate Head Coach|
|Alma Mater:||De Haagse Hogeschool '04|
One of the top young minds in the world of soccer, Erwin van Bennekom begins his fourth season with the Duke women’s soccer program in 2018 as associate head coach. After being hired as an assistant coach Aug. 31, 2015, van Bennekom was elevated to his current title of associate head coach Jan. 31, 2017.
Hailing from The Netherlands, van Bennekom boasts nearly 15 years of coaching experience, including the professional and collegiate levels. As the Blue Devils' associate head coach, van Bennekom is responsible for all soccer aspects of the program, while assisting with all other program responsibilities as well.
A member of the 2017 United Soccer Coaches National Coaching Staff of the Year, Van Bennekom's leadership and gameplanning expertise were key in a memorable 2017 season that saw the Blue Devils break 25 total school records (18 team, seven individual), including single-season wins (23), ACC victories (10), shutouts (18) and ACC goal differential (+20) en route to their third ACC regular season championship and fourth NCAA College Cup appearance.
All in all, van Bennekom's leadership helped Duke post a 23-2-1 record on the year, earning its 23rd NCAA Tournament bid, second No. 1 seed and second trip to the College Cup in the last three years. The Blue Devils also put together a perfect 10-0-0 ledger in conference play, becoming the first team to finish perfect in league play since Virginia in 2013.
Duke’s 2017 season featured a number of other impressive marks as well, headlined by a program best 19-game winning streak that stretched from Aug. 20 – Nov. 3. Van Bennekom's offensive expertise helped lead a Blue Devil attack that stood second nationally in points with 171 and third with 60 goals. The Blue Devils tallied a 2.31 scoring offense that was ninth nationally, while their 51 assists came in at sixth. The Blue Devils’ offense finished the year leading the ACC in all four categories.
Highlighted in Duke's scorching offensive numbers were 19 games with multiple goals, including 11 with three-plus scores. Van Bennekom's game-planning was directly credited to the Blue Devils' 4-0 thrashing of No. 3 West Virginia in Morgantown early in the season, as Duke delivered West Virginia its first home loss in regulation since Aug. 29, 2014 (43-straight match streak), when the Blue Devils shut out the Mountaineers 2-0. Also a highlight in a season filled with 60 total goals (tied fourth in DWS history) was Duke's 7-0 domination of Oklahoma State in the second round of NCAA play. Six different Blue Devils tallied goals, while nine recorded a point in Duke’s largest victory since an 8-0 thumping of Elon on Aug. 19, 2012. The Blue Devils’ seven scores also set a school record for the most in an NCAA Tournament contest, besting its previous record of six in a shutout win against Loyola (Md.) in the first round of the 2012 postseason.
Van Bennekom's leadership also showed on the defensive side of the ball, as Duke's back line put together one of the best seasons in school history. Along with the program record 18 overall shutouts and eight ACC clean sheets, the Blue Devils also set marks with a 0.38 goals against average and allowing only 29 points and 10 goals. Duke put together perhaps its best defensive showing when it mattered the most: The NCAA Tournament. For the first time in school history, the Blue Devils did not allow a single goal in the postseason, outscoring their opponents 15-0.
Individually, van Bennekom helped develop a Blue Devil roster that saw a school record nine All-ACC selections, including the ACC Offensive Player of the Year (Imani Dorsey), ACC Midfielder of the Year (Rebecca Quinn) and ACC Defensive Player of the Year (Schuyler DeBree). The 2017 DWS squad also produced a school record three United Soccer Coaches All-Americans, including first team selections Dorsey and Quinn, as well as four Scholar All-Americans, two MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalists (school record), the National Scholar Athlete of the Year (Dorsey) and an all-time ACC best 10 All-Academic Team selections.
Van Bennekom's coaching was a major key in the development of Duke's senior class in 2017 which landed six selections in the NWSL Draft, highlighted by Quinn (No. 3 to Washington Spirit) and Dorsey (No. 5 to Sky Blue FC). The six draftees ties UCLA's 2015 squad for the most in a single draft and gives Duke 12 all-time, which ties for the most in NCAA history. The 2017 NWSL Draft provided Duke with its highest selection in school history (Quinn) and the most first round selections in a single draft.
With van Bennekom’s support Duke reeled in the fifth-ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2017. Headlined by ninth-ranked and Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year Karlie Paschall, the seven-member class boasted some of the nation's top players and presented five with U.S. National Team experience.
Duke's magical 2017 season was set up by a 2016 campaign that saw the Blue Devils reach the NCAA Quarterfinals for the fifth time in the last six years thanks to van Bennekom's assistance. Duke shut down Charlotte, Illinois State and Northwestern en route to a showdown with West Virginia, eventually falling in a heartbreaking 1-0 battle. Seniors Christina Gibbons and Toni Payne, who would go on to be selected in the 2016 NWSL Draft, put on spectacular performances in their final year thanks to help from van Bennekom. An NSCAA All-American, Senior CLASS Award winner and the 2016 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Gibbons wrapped up one of the greatest careers by a Blue Devil in 2016. Payne capped her career standing top 10 on numerous career charts in the Duke record book and being named All-ACC First Team.
In his first season with the Blue Devils, van Bennekom helped lead Duke to the NCAA Championship match, before falling to Penn State, 1-0. He also helped bring in the No. 4 ranked recruiting class nationally, including the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year, Ella Stevens.
Van Bennekom spent the 2014 campaign with the Alabama women’s soccer program. In one season, he helped guide the Tide to a 10-7-3 mark, which was a four-win improvement from the year before (6-12).
Prior to and following the 2014 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 has coached multiple national team players from all over the world (Australia, Canada, Denmark, 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 has also coached the Real New Jersey SC Power, NJ Elite `95 and STA Magic, all top-ranked club teams in the country.
A standout player on the field 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 system.
Van Bennekom is a 2004 graduate of De Haagse Hogeschool with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management.
He holds a US Soccer USSF A & B license, UEFA B & C diploma from the KNVB and is currently working towards his UEFA diploma.