Legendary women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance will be sticking around Chapel Hill as on Monday, North Carolina announced that they had agreed to an extension with him through 2028.
Dorrance’s résumé speaks for itself. He’s won 21 women’s soccer national championships at UNC, where he’s coached some of the all-time US Women’s National Team greats. Carolina very nearly added to that national championship tally this past season, only to lose a heartbreaker to UCLA in the title game. For a while in his career, he was even pulling double duty, also coaching the Tar Heels’ men’s team. You have to be a very good coach to get something name after you at UNC, and he has that distinction with the soccer and lacrosse stadium named Dorrance Field.
Away from UNC, Dorrance also led the USWNT to victory in the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991. That year and pretty much ever since, Tar Heels have prominently featured on the USWNT. That will continue this year with Crystal Dunn and Emily Fox’s presence on the roster. Even beyond that, several other Heels will play for a variety of national teams at this summer’s World Cup.
This contract will take Dorrance through June 2028, at which point he will be 77 years old. Considering that last year’s UNC team came agonizingly close to a national championship, he’s proven that his teams are still among the premier group in the country. That being said, he’s obviously closer to the end of his coaching career than the beginning. It wouldn’t be shocking if this contract ends up being his final one, with some sort of coach-in-waiting situation starting up during it. However, that’s pure speculation on my part. For all we know, Dorance will continue coaching for years to come. He’s certainly earned the chance to be able to choose when he calls time on his career.
Dorrance and this year’s UNC team will begin play in the 2023 season on August 17th, with the home regular season opener coming on August 20th. We’re still a little ways off from stuff like preseason polls, but it won’t be surprising to see the Tar Heels highly ranked once again going into this year.