June 23, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Former Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year Zach Thornton joins the Villanova women's soccer staff as assistant coach in June 2014. Thornton concurrently serves as the Villanova men's soccer associate head coach and will also assist the women's side following the hiring of head coach Fran Kulas in December 2013.
"We are extremely excited to welcome Zach to our staff," stated Kulas. "Zach has played and coached at the highest levels of the game and we look forward to everything he will bring to training and coaching our goalkeepers. In addition to helping our goalkeepers reach the highest level, our entire program will benefit from Zach's experience and professionalism."
Thornton continued, "I am very excited and look forward to working with Fran and our talented group of women."
Prior to his time at Villanova, Thornton began his collegiate coaching career as the assistant coach/goalkeeping coach at Loyola (Md.) University in 2012 where he is also an alumnus. While at Loyola, Thornton helps guide the Greyhounds to a top seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference playoffs.
A six-time MLS all-star who also earned nine caps for the U.S. Men's National Team, Thornton has an incredible understanding of what it takes to excel at the highest levels. He was a standout soccer and lacrosse player at Loyola where he was named an All-America honoree 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.
With the Villanova women's soccer squad, Thornton's main focus will be on developing and training goalkeepers and helping the team compete for a BIG EAST and NCAA championship. He will also keep his duties as the associate head coach with the Villanova men's soccer team.