In her career, Susan Ryan has established herself as one of the best soccer coaches in America. Her teams always reflect the best of what collegiate competition has to offer and her success is outstanding.
Entering her 19th season as head coach of the womenís soccer program, she now has her team set to challenge for an America East title. In just its second season as a member of the America East, Stony Brook came within one win of capturing its first conference title and a bid the NCAA Womenís College Cup. The 2002 Seawolves began the season 0-4 but fought against early season adversity to finish the regular season with a flourish, winning six of their final eight games to earn a conference playoff berth.
The No. 3 seed Stony Brook team knocked off New Hampshire in the semifinals to advance to the title match against Hartford. Although the Seawolves fell in the conference final, last season marked a gigantic step forward for the womenís soccer program. Finishing in eighth place in 2001, the Seawolves climbed all the way up to number three in the standings, including a 1-0 win over defending champ BU on their home turf to end a 27-game home unbeaten streak for the Terriers.
Ryan has assembled top-notch talent for the upcoming season. Last year saw four Seawolves take home all-conference honors and goaltender Cindy Bennett was voted the 2002 America East Rookie of the Year, marking the first time that a Stony Brook player has taken home a major conference honor.
Her teams continue to perform in the classroom as well as seven players were named to the America East honor roll and the team boasts one of the best team G.P.A.ís in the department.
In 1998, the Seawolves won 11 games, their second highest win total since moving to the Division I level in 1989. Along the way, the team rewrote the school record book and garnered national recognition. After dropping the first game of the year, the team ripped off a school-record seven straight wins, Erica Keller set the all-time school scoring record and the Seawolves went on to earn an ECAC playoff berth, its first playoff appearance at the Division I level. In addition, the Seawolves were voted by Soccer Buzz as the third most improved team in the nation and the New York Metropolitan Association of Officials selected Ryanís squad as the team that displayed the best sportsmanship in 1998.
On an individual level, Ryanís exploits did not go unnoticed. That spring, Stony Brook selected her as the 1998 Womenís Athletics Coach of the Year, the second time she has earned that honor. Ryanís success was not just limited to Stony Brook as she was honored for her work with her nationally recognized club team, the Northport Piranha. In 1999, she was chosen as the National Youth Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and the United States Youth Soccer Association. Ryan has guided the Piranha to two national titles in the last four seasons, one coming in 1999 and the other in 1997. One of the players on the national championship teams was Christie Welsh, who is now a member of the U.S. Womenís National Team.
Ryan was appointed head womenís soccer coach in 1985 and has guided the Seawolves for the past 18 seasons. Ryan inherited a team that finished with a 1-13-1 record in 1984 and in her first year at the helm, improved Stony Brook to 6-7. From 1986-88, Stony Brook recorded double-digit win totals and made three postseason appearances. In 1986, Stony Brook finished 12-6-1, and earned its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) playoff bid after placing fourth in the New York State Womenís Collegiate Athletic Association championships. In 1987, Stony Brook went 11-6-1 and claimed the NYSWCAA championship. The following year, the programís final year at the NCAA Division III level, Ryan guided the team to its best-ever season with a 14-5 record, but lost in the NYSWCAA championship game to Ithaca. Ryan guided the Seawolves to a 12-6 mark in 1994, its best finish as the Division I level to that point in the programís history. For her teamís achievement, Ryan was named Stony Brookís 1994 Womenís Athletics Coach of the Year.
Ryan is one of a select few female coaches in the nation to have earned the United States Soccer Federationís (USSF) ďAĒ license. She also holds National and Advanced National licenses from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). In 1989, Ryan was appointed a member of the Executive Committee of the Intercollegiate Soccer Association and handled the added responsibility of Committee Secretary-Treasurer. In 1995, Ryan was named President of the Committee.
Ryan has served as head coach for the Long Island Junior Soccer League Girlís Select program and has served as head coach of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Associationís Olympic Development Program (ODP) for girls. She has been recently appointed Head Coach for the Region I Olympic Development Program for the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA).
Recently, she has been promoted to the head coach of the Region I girls Olympic Development Program. She also served stints with the U.S. Womenís Under-18 National Team as an assistant coach on their trip to Bulgaria and the USASA Amateur Sports Festival.
Ryan received her masterís degree from Stony Brook in 1988 after earning a bachelorís degree from SUNY Cortland. Ryan played four years of soccer at Cortland and was a member of the Red Dragonsí team that captured the United States Womenís National Championship in 1980. In 1982, Ryan served as team captain in the Red Dragonsí first season at the Division I level, and led the team to an NCAA tournament appearance.