Former Tribe All-American takes over as W&M's women's soccer coach

Dave Johnson

In replacing a coach who had become synonymous with William and Mary women’s soccer over the last three decades, the Tribe is turning to one of its stars from the past.

Julie Cunningham Shackford, a three-time All-American from 1985-87, has been hired as W&M’s head coach. She will take over for John Daly, who retired last month after 31 seasons.

Shackford’s résumé includes 20 seasons at Princeton, which she coached to a 203-115-29 record and a 2004 Final Four appearance.

When she resigned in 2014, Shackford thought she was done with coaching. But returning to her alma mater was too strong a lure.

“To me, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime, having played here and been a pretty active alum over the last 30 years,” she said. “A bunch of my family has gone here, and it just pretty much felt like a calling to me.”

Shackford, an alum of Lake Braddock High in Burke, was the development academy coach with FC Virginia last year.

Before coming to Princeton, she coached the start-up team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for five seasons. She also earned her master’s of public management there.

“Julie Cunningham Shackford is the complete package,” W&M athletic director Samantha Huge said in a statement. “She is a nationally respected name in the soccer community who has had success at the highest levels of the sport within an academically challenging atmosphere.

“What’s more, she is an alumna who is passionate about William and Mary and energized to build on the great legacy we have in place.”

Shackford’s senior year at William and Mary was Daly’s first as head coach. One of her classmates was Jill Ellis, who coached the U.S. national team to the 2015 Women’s World Cup championship. Ellis was the head coach at UCLA when the Bruins beat Princeton in the Final Four.

In a statement distributed by W&M, Ellis praised the hiring of her former teammate.

“Julie is one of a kind, and I am delighted our alma mater has chosen her to lead our women’s soccer program,” Ellis said. “Her passion for soccer, vast experience, and love for William and Mary are a perfect blend to establish a dynamic and successful program."

Johnson can be reached by phone at 757-247-4649. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveJohnsonDP.

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