June 5, 2002
Los Angeles - Former U.S. National Team member and current WUSA player Michelle French has been hired as an assistant coach with the UCLA women's soccer team, head coach Jillian Ellis announced today. French will officially begin her position on July 1.
French is currently in her second season in the WUSA as a member of the San Jose CyberRays. She played her first season with the Washington Freedom, starting 20 of 21 matches while leading the team in assists with five. She has played in all eight matches for the CyberRays this season, recording a goal and an assist.
In addition to her experiences in the WUSA, French has also represented the U.S. at the National Team level. She helped the U.S. Olympic Team earn a silver medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia and was named to the U.S. Residency Camp in preparation for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. She earned her first cap with the National Team against England in 1997. At the youth level, French was a member of the Under-21 U.S. Team from 1994-99, helping the team earn two Nordic Cup titles (1997 & '99).
At the collegiate level, French was a four-year starter for coach Clive Charles at the University of Portland from 1995-98. She led the Pilots to three appearances in the NCAA Final Four, including a trip to the NCAA Final in 1995. She was a finalist for both the M.A.C. Award and Hermann Trophy in 1998, earning first-team NSCAA All-America honors that year as well.
"We are extremely excited to have an athlete of Michelle's caliber join our staff," added Ellis. "Her vast experience as a player, both with the U.S. National Team and in WUSA, will be a valuable asset to our program. She has been a leader on the field for many years and I expect that to translate to the sidelines as she begins her coaching career. Her presence will be felt the moment she begins working with our players."
French replaces former assistant coach Lisa Shattuck who, after four years with the program, has decided to pursue a career in the medical field.
French will continue her career in the WUSA while coaching at UCLA.