WOMEN’S SOCCER: Coach selcted to go to Pan-Ams

Kyle Hightower

After coaching the women’s soccer team to two winning seasons in its first two years of existence, head coach Jason Neidell has been selected to help other aspiring soccer players become successful.

Neidell will be on the sidelines as he coaches the U.S. Juniors Girls Soccer team at next winter’s Pan American Maccabi Games in Santiago, Chile.

“It’s nice (being selected) because it makes me feel like I’m in a category of up and coming young coaches,” Neidell said.

Wood Selig isn’t hesitant to agree, either.

“I think it’s fantastic and a tribute of the national reputation (Neidell) both earned and developed in a short period of time,” he said.

The Pan American Maccabi Games give Jewish athletes the opportunity to compete in athletic competitions similar to what the Olympics offer. About 2,000 athletes from 20 countries will compete in the games and be welcomed by the Chilean Maccabi community.

Neidell participated in the youth games when he was 14 years old, and he said that it gives him an opportunity to give back to something that was a great experience for him.

“There’s obviously some extra benefits being able to work with the best Jewish athletes in the country,” he said.

The coaching community is a tight-knit fellowship, which made it easier for Neidell to be recognized by other fellow Jewish coaches in the Maccabi system.

After graduating from Yale in 1994, Neidell played two seasons with the Tulsa Roughnecks for the United States Professional Soccer League and one with the Harrisburg Heat of the Indoor Soccer League.

He turned to coaching when he was injured while playing for the Heat, landing his first job as a graduate assistant at Tulsa from 1996 through 1998.

After two more seasons with the Golden Hurricanes, Neidell came to Bowling Green to become Western’s first women’s soccer coach in 2000.

Neidell has an overall record of 24-14 over two years, leading the Lady Toppers to the Sun Belt Conference tournament semifinals last season.

The opening ceremony for the Pan American Maccabi Games will be held on Dec. 27 and closing ceremonies on Jan. 4.

Reach Amber North at [email protected]