One would be hard-pressed to find a coach who made as big of an impact in her first season as Amanda Cromwell. Eight months after being hired on Apr. 12, 2013 as the fifth head coach in UCLA women’s soccer history, Cromwell led her team to the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship, and she took her Bruins to a second championship game appearance four years later in 2017.
In six seasons as UCLA head coach, she has taken her teams to two College Cups, four quarterfinals and five Round of 16 appearances, along with two Pac-12 team titles. On Oct. 5, 2017, she earned her 300th career victory. Academically, her teams have earned the United Soccer Coaches College Team Academic Award in each of her seasons at UCLA. Additionally, the 2018 Bruins won the Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award, and the 2017 squad received a Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award from the United Soccer Coaches. Six Cromwell-coached Bruins participated in the 2019 World Cup, including three – Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Mewis and Mal Pugh – from the winning U.S. squad.
Cromwell’s 2013 Bruins finished the season with a 22-1-3 record and went unbeaten over their last 21 games. They gave up just one goal during the NCAA Tournament and only eight goals all season, leading the nation in goals against average (0.296). In addition to winning the national championship, the team won the Pac-12 title and tied the school record for most victories in a season. Dahlkemper won the Honda Award, and three Bruins earned All-America honors, with five receiving first-team NSCAA All-Region honors. Cromwell herself was named Soccer America’s Coach of the Year, the first-such honor for a UCLA women’s soccer coach.
Year two of the Cromwell era was nearly as successful, as the Bruins went undefeated in their first 23 games before falling to Virginia in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Still, the Bruins earned a 21-1-2 record, won a second-straight Pac-12 title, set multiple school records, and accumulated a plethora of awards, including the Honda Award for Mewis and a school-record four NSCAA All-America honors. Cromwell earned NSCAA Pacific Region Coach of the Year honors.
Although the 2015 Bruins went 8-10-1 after losing nine starters, Cromwell quickly put the pieces in place to rebuild, signing a blockbuster recruiting class in February 2016 that included three Top 10 players, led by U.S. National Team starter Pugh, Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Jessie Fleming and U.S. Under-20 National Team standout Marley Canales. Although Pugh and Canales sat out the 2016 season while with the U-20s, Fleming and her freshman teammates, six of whom were in the starting lineup in the postseason, led the Bruins to a 15-5-2 record and to the NCAA Round of 16, where they were eliminated on penalty kicks to the No. 1 overall seed West Virginia. Fleming went on to earn NSCAA All-America honors, and senior Darian Jenkins, who suffered a season-ending leg injury in early October, earned NSCAA All-Region acclaim.
The 2017 season started out with seven-straight victories and a six-week run at the No. 1 national ranking. UCLA set school and national attendance records, drawing a NCAA regular season all-time record 11,925 fans to their home regular season finale against USC. The Bruins treated the record-setting crowd to a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over their crosstown rivals. UCLA finished the season with a 19-3-3 record and earned its second College Cup appearance under Cromwell.
Cromwell led the 2018 Bruins to a 17-3-2 record and a 13-game unbeaten streak to end the season. UCLA advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals but fell in penalty kicks at North Carolina. Cromwell’s Bruins led the nation in points per game (8.36) and assists per game (2.82) and were tied for first in total goals (61).
In addition to coaching, Cromwell was also instrumental in securing a $5-million dollar donation for the transformation of the North Athletic Field into the new home for UCLA Soccer, Wallis Annenberg Stadium.
Cromwell came to UCLA in 2013 after 14 years as head coach at the University of Central Florida. From 1999-2012, she guided the Knights to a 203-83-26 record, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, four Atlantic Sun Tournament championships, four Conference USA regular-season titles and the 2012 C-USA tournament title. Cromwell’s Knights made a NCAA Elite Eight run in 2011 that included a defeat of North Carolina in the third round. Cromwell’s UCF players earned 96 all-conference honors and 38 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Region selections. They also amassed nearly 300 conference academic awards during her 14 years in Orlando, including 10 NSCAA Women’s Collegiate Scholar All-American awards and one Senior CLASS Award.
Prior to Central Florida, Cromwell was head coach at University of Maryland-Baltimore County from 1996-97 and an assistant coach at the University of Virginia from 1992-94.
With 325 career victories and a .710 winning percentage at the close of the 2018 season, Cromwell currently ranks 15th in win percentage among active coaches and 16th all-time. Additionally, she ranks 18th among active coaches and 21st overall in total wins.
A native of Annandale, Va. and an inaugural member of the Annendale High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Cromwell attended the University of Virginia and was the captain of the 1991 Cavaliers team that advanced to the Final Four. She was a two-time All-America selection, a finalist for the 1991 Hermann Trophy and a four-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference honoree.
Following her standout career in Charlottesville, Cromwell earned 55 caps while representing the U.S. Women’s National Team. She was a member of the United States’ 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup team and an alternate for the U.S. Olympic team in 1996. She later played professionally for the Washington Freedom, Atlanta Beat and the San Jose CyberRays of the Women’s United Soccer Association and was inducted into the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame.
Cromwell has served as a member of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee and U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, and from 2002 to 2006, she was a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She is also a member of the coaching staff that the State Department sends as an envoy to other countries to empower girls and women through soccer.
Cromwell graduated from the University of Virginia in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in biology.