University of AL - Birmingham

UAB Blazers Athletics
Bartow Arena - 1720 2nd Ave. S Birmingham, AL 35294
Division 1 Alabama Southeast
Public Large National competitor

Coaches

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Erica Demers

Erica Demers was named the third head coach in UAB women’s soccer history on May 22, 2017 and wasted no time in putting her imprint on a program that saw its win total increase by 11 games in her first season.


Picked to finish last in a preseason poll voted on by the Conference USA head coaches, Demers orchestrated one of the best turnarounds in the NCAA by guiding the Blazers to an 13-4-3 overall record, a 7-2-1 mark in league play and a third-place finish. Demers completely revamped the Blazer offense and made it one of the most formidable units in Conference USA, as the Blazers went from 18 goals scored in 2016 to 39 in 2017 to rank fourth in the league. MidfBioielder Amy Brewer flourished under Demers’ tutelage and was among the league leaders in points (25), goals (10) and assists (5) on her way to earning All-Conference USA First Team accolades. Fellow midfielder Rachel Green also earned a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team after finishing with 17 points on seven goals and three assists.


Demers also helped the Blazers become one of the stingiest defensive teams in Conference USA, finishing her debut season tied for first in the league for the fewest goals allowed. Keeper Kelsey Daugherty paced the league with a 0.76 goals against average, recorded the second-most shutouts in a single season (7) in school history and was tied for third in the league with 95 saves. Daugherty was selected as the Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Week four different times in 2017 and also earned a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team.


Overall, Demers guided UAB to its most wins since 2004 and owns the most single-season victories by a first year head coach in school history.


Demers kept UAB among the top teams in C-USA in her second year, posting 18 points and a third place finish and the Blazers' first back-to-back berths in the C-USA Championship since the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Blazers also had their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003 and 2004. Daugherty would go on to become Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Year as well as being named First Team All-Conference, United Soccer Coaches All-South Region First Team and Conference USA All-Academic First Team. She was named Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Week two times while posting six shutouts. Kamilah Mustafa was named to the C-USA Second Team after leading the league in game-winning goals with five.


In 2019, a pair of Blazers were recognized by Conference USA today as the league released their 2019 All-Conference teams. Junior defender Audria Wood and freshman goalkeeper Eve Beyer were named All-Conference Third Team. Beyer was also named to the All-Rookie Team. As a team, UAB was second in C-USA with a goal against average of 1.12, only surrendering 19 goals in 17 matches including seven shutouts.


Demers arrived in Birmingham following three successful seasons as an assistant coach at Iowa under Hawkeye head coach Dave Dilanni. During that time, Demers helped the Hawkeyes to 29 victories, coached three All-Big Ten performers, two all-region selections, and 31 Academic All-Big Ten recipients.


During the 2016 season, Iowa posted an 8-11-0 record with a young team featuring eight freshmen and 12 underclassmen. Freshman Natalie Winters started all 19 games and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team to become the first Hawkeye to do so since 2013.


Academically, the Hawkeyes thrived, as 16 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition, tying a program record.


In 2015, Demers helped senior Hannah Clark lead the Big Ten in saves (105), saves per game (5.83) and tie for sixth in shutouts (6). Clark ended her career as the winningest goalkeeper in program history (36 victories) and was tops in the record books in career shutouts (26) and third in career saves (321).


The Hawkeyes earned the NSCAA Ethics and Sportsmanship Award and six student-athletes garnered Academic All-Big Ten recognition.


In her first season in Iowa City, Demers guided the Hawkeyes to a 14-7-1 overall record and a 7-5-1 Big Ten mark to notch the program's third top-five league finish since 2011. The seven Big Ten victories tied the program record for Big Ten wins in a single season and the 14 wins were the second-most in school history.


After entering the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 5 seed, Iowa posted victories over No. 23 Rutgers and Northwestern to advance to the tournament championship game for a second straight season. Two seniors -- Cloe Lacasse and Melanie Pickert -- capped their Hawkeye careers with All-Big Ten First Team and All-Region First Team honors. They were the first pair in school history to earn All-Big Ten First Team honors in the same season and the first two players to garner All-Region First Team recognition.


Demers joined the Iowa program after spending nine seasons with DiIanni at Grand Valley State, the final two as associate head coach. She helped the Lakers post a 189-12-17 record, capture three NCAA Division II national titles, win nine-straight GLIAC championships and nine NCAA regional championships.


Under Demers' tutelage, Grand Valley State became one of the best offensive programs in the nation. The team set program scoring records in six-straight seasons, including a school-best 92 goals in 2010.


Demers was instrumental in the development of All-America forward Katy Tafler, who holds the top spot in the Grand Valley record books with 269 points (114 goals, 41 assists) -- a total that ranks third in NCAA history. She also coached five GLIAC Offensive Player of the Year selections.


In addition to her coaching duties, Demers served as the school's recruiting coordinator, camps coordinator and instructor, strength and conditioning coach and fundraising director. She also was instrumental in the team's academic success, as she coached two Academic All-American of the Year honorees, eight Academic All-Americans, one Elite 88 Award winner and more than 40 athletes to GLIAC All-Academic honors during her tenure.


Demers began her coaching career at The Citadel, where she served one season as a graduate assistant.


As a student-athlete, Demers played four years of Division I soccer at Oakland University, where she led the Grizzlies to four straight conference tournament titles and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. She was a two-time first-team Mid-Continent Conference selection and was Mid-Con Player of the Year in 2002. She ended her career with 55 points on 15 goals and 25 assists.


Demers played for the Canadian U-21 National Team and was part of the Canadian National Championship team in 2000. In 1997-98, she played for the National Training Centre team and was a member of the Ontario Provincial Team for five years.


The Welland, Ontario, Canada, native graduated from Oakland with a bachelor of science in health science in 2004 and earned her master's degree in education from Grand Valley State in 2009.

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Lee Hughes

Lee Hughes is in his fourth season on staff.


Hughes played an instrumental role in revamping the Blazer offense in to one of the most formidable units in Conference USA, as the Blazers went from 18 goals scored in 2016 to 39 in 2017 to rank fourth in the league. In 2017, Midfielder Amy Brewer was among the league leaders in points (25), goals (10) and assists (5) on her way to earning All-Conference USA First Team accolades. Fellow midfielder Rachel Green also earned a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team after finishing with 17 points on seven goals and three assists.


In his second season in Birmingham, he developed Kamilah Mustafa into one of the top goal scorers in C-USA. She led the Blazers with eight on the year. Of those eight, five were game winners, ranking 18th in the NCAA and first in C-USA.


Hughes also helped the Blazers become one of the stingiest defensive teams in Conference USA, finishing the 2017 season tied for first in the league for the fewest goals allowed. Keeper Kelsey Daugherty paced the league with a 0.76 goals against average, recorded the second-most shutouts in a single season (7) in school history and was tied for third in the league with 95 saves. Daugherty was selected as the Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Week four different times in 2017 and also earned a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team. She repeated the feat in 2018 while being named Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Year, United Soccer Coaches All-South Region First Team and Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Week two times while posting six shutouts.


In 2019, a pair of Blazers were recognized by Conference USA today as the league released their 2019 All-Conference teams. Junior defender Audria Wood and freshman goalkeeper Eve Beyer were named All-Conference Third Team. Beyer was also named to the All-Rookie Team. As a team, UAB was second in C-USA with a goal against average of 1.12, only surrendering 19 goals in 17 matches including seven shutouts.


Hughes arrived in Birmingham after working as an assistant coach at Indiana State in 2016, helping the Sycamores earn five All-Missouri Valley Conference accolades. In addition, Hughes helped place two Sycamores on the MVC All-Tournament Team.


Blazer head coach Erica Demers and Hughes worked together at the University of Iowa in 2015, when Hughes worked as a volunteer assistant coach.


The Hawkeyes earned the NSCAA Ethics and Sportsmanship Award and six student-athletes garnered Academic All-Big Ten recognition.


Hughes played collegiately at Ashford University and graduated in 2015 with a bachelor of arts degree in sports management. While at Ashford, Hughes served as team captain and helped the Saints to the NAIA Final Four in 2013 and NAIA Sweet 16 in 2014. Hughes was also named an NAIA Academic All-American in 2014 and was selected as the Scholar Athlete of the Year as a senior.


Additionally, Hughes earned his masters in Exercise Physiology from UAB in 2019.


Hughes also is a staff coach for Alabama ODP and Region 3.


Raised in Old Colwyn, Wales, Hughes holds his USSF B license, as well as level one and level two NSCAA goalkeeping diplomas.

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John Robertson

John Robertson is in his first season back with UAB as full-time assistant after returning to the program he worked with in 2018.


Robertson spent the past year as assistant coach in an historic, championship-winning campaign with NCAA DII University of Montevallo. The Falcons won the Gulf South Conference Tournament and went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 after posting a 14-4-4 record. Beyond the regular duties of an assistant, he worked with defensive standouts, Mel Stevens, an All-Region defender, and All-Conference selection Hannah Waki, as well as leading a goalkeeping unit featuring Sophomore keeper Annie Mason, who would go on to become the first ‘Purple-and-Gold’ GK in a decade to secure a Gulf South Conference All-Tournament Team award, as well as leading the league in overall save percentage (0.894) at the close of GSC play, with a 0.74 goals against average (third in he GSC). She was named Gulf South Defender of the Week two times while posting five shutouts to double her career tally (10). Mason saved her best performance of the year for the Conference Tournament semifinal, with a career-high 12 saves and forced three penalty misses in a dramatic shootout that secured the Falcons' place in the GSC Championship game. Montevallo’s success was built on a dynamic attacking philosophy that recorded a program-high 10 regular season conference wins, scoring 50 goals, with 18 different players producing either a goal or an assist and 14 different goal scorers. The success of the first year for Robertson and head coach Jake Wyman saw the staff secure United Soccer Coaches' South Region Staff of the Year.


Robertson arrived in Montevallo after serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the Blazers where he worked primarily with the goalkeepers and defenders. The Blazers secured the third seed in Conference USA regular season play and made it to the tournament quarterfinal round. In that 2018 season in the Magic City, he worked alongside Coach Ben Munger with Blazers' keeper Kelsey Daugherty, who would go on to become Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Year as well as being named First Team All-Conference, United Soccer Coaches All-South Region First Team and Conference USA All-Academic First Team. She was named Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Week two times while posting six shutouts.


The Fyvie, Scotland, native joined the Blazers after serving as the men and women’s assistant coach at his alma-mater Maryville College (TN) in 2016. In another historic campaign, Robertson helped guide the Maryville men to both USA South Conference Regular Season and Conference Tournament glory for the first time in program history since moving to the conference four years prior. The two trophies and 18 wins secured the Fighting Scots’ first DIII NCAA National Tournament appearance since 2005. During that storied year, Robertson saw All-American forward Caleb Lucas score 21 goals and tally 10 assists in just 21 games. Lucas led the conference in goals (14) and points (52) in the league campaign. Fellow senior Timmy Baker also broke the Maryville All-Time record for assists in a single season (16). Robertson also worked with a young Lady Scots side who led the conference in clean sheets, with 9 in 14 league games on their way to a double-digit win season and a Conference Tournament semi-final run.


A former four-year lettermen with the Fighting Scots himself, Robertson played in defense for a team that was rated as high as 14th in the nation. During his collegiate career, he won three Great South Athletic Conference regular season and conference tournament championships. In 2011, he was named to the Great South Atlantic All-Conference team and voted Team Defensive MVP, and, in his 2012 senior year, Robertson captained his side as the Scots transitioned to the USA South, and he was again an All-Conference selection, the Overall Team MVP, as well as an All-Conference Academic Team and All-Region Team scholar.


Robertson earned a bachelor's degree from Maryville in english literature with a minor in writing communications in 2013.


After his collegiate career ended, Robertson returned home for two years to play for Maud Juniors in the Scottish minor leagues, and completed his Masters in Journalism from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University.


In addition to playing, Robertson worked as a leading news reporter for daily newspaper, The Press & Journal — serving a readership of 70,000 per day, covering two thirds of Scotland.


At the end of 2015, Robertson spent a year traveling in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, where he continued his soccer career in Perth, WA, until coaching brought him back to East Tennessee.


In 2017, Robertson began his coaching education with The FA Level 1 & Level 2 badges in Manchester, England, as well as his FA Goalkeeping Level 1, before transitioning back to the USA to move to Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife, Rachel. There, he has had spells leading youth teams locally for Vestavia Hills Soccer Club and Alabama Soccer Association’s ODP program, where he still coaches the 07 Girls.


He also holds his U.S. Soccer C & D Licenses, and a United Soccer Coaches Level 1 in Goalkeeper coaching.

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