Prep standout joins women’s soccer staff

Juliana Zavala, assistant coach of the women’s soccer team.

Juliana Zavala, a standout player during her prep days in Chicago, was named assistant coach of the women’s soccer team.

The women’s soccer team will begin official competition during the 2014 fall season.

“Juliana is a great addition to UIC and our women’s soccer family,” head coach Brian Rigby said. “It was important for me to find a person who not only can teach, and understands the game of soccer, but a person who is familiar with the city and surrounding areas of Chicago. Juliana’s ability to recruit and attract local players to UIC will be valuable to our program.”

During the 2011 season, Zavala was a graduate assistant women’s soccer coach at Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark. She joined the UIC Athletic Department last fall as an account executive in the ticket operations unit.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with Coach Rigby and be part of a new program here at UIC,” Zavala said. “Coach Rigby has a great vision for the team and is determined to build a championship program right away. I share his vision and look forward to working with him and being part of a new family.”

Zavala was a standout prep player at Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago, collecting All-State honors in three consecutive seasons.

She began her college career at Northern Illinois in 2003, before transferring to Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La., where she completed her final three years of eligibility (2004-06).

Zavala had one of the most decorated careers in NSU women’s soccer history. She totaled 64 points, including 27 goals.

In her junior season (2005), Zavala was named recipient of the inaugural Golden Ball Award, awarded annually to the top collegiate point-scorer among all of the Division I schools in Louisiana.

She was an All-Southland Conference First-Team selection in 2005 after scoring 13 goals and totaling 32 points. She scored the game-winning goal in the Southland Conference Tournament final to propel the Demons into the NCAA Tournament.

Zavala was recognized as an “All-Louisiana” FirstTeam honoree at the conclusion of the 2005 campaign.

In her rookie season, she led the Demons in scoring, tallying nine goals and 19 points and was named to the Southland Conference All-Tournament Team.

After her collegiate career, Zavala was a personal trainer, physical therapy tech and a club coach at the Chicago Sports Zone and Chicago Storm Academy. She also coached for the Arkansas Rush Youth Club. In 2008, Zavala was an assistant coach at her alma mater, Kelly High School.

She graduated with a bachelor’s of science in health and exercise science from Northwestern State in 2007, and received a master’s degree from Arkansas State last spring.

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