Longtime MLS veteran comes to Villanova from staff of Loyola University
Thornton comes to Villanova from the staff of Loyola University, where he served as an assistant coach/goalkeeping coach.
"Zach is a terrific addition to our soccer program," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "As a six-time MLS all-star who also earned nine caps playing for the U.S. national team, he has an incredible understanding of what it takes to excel at the highest level. His technical skill, experience and energy are a perfect fit for our staff and will provide our players with a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed as a professional."
Thornton was a standout soccer and lacrosse player at Loyola, where he was named an All-American in both sports. He was inducted into the Loyola Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003.
As a professional, Thornton played 16 seasons and was twice named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year (1998 and 2009). Over the course of his career, Thornton played internationally for Benfica in Portugal in 2003-04 (where his team won the Portugese Cup) and later returned to the U.S., where he was named MLS Comeback Player of the Year in 2009 while playing for Chivas USA (he was Chivas MVP too). In 1998 he won an MLS Championship with the Chicago Fire and won four Open Cup championships while a member of the Fire.
In 2012 as an assistant coach, Thornton helped guide the Greyhounds to a top seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference playoffs.
"Zach's main focus will be on recruiting players to Villanova who embody the spirit of this University and also can help us compete for an NCAA Championship," states Carlin. "We will draw from his leadership qualities such as humility, loyalty, discipline, and hard work as we identify potential student-athletes for our program. I cannot wait to get the opportunity to work alongside him."