The new women’s soccer head coach at Newman University is Aaron Avila, former men and women’s head coach at Barton Community College.
Athletic Director Vic Trilli announced the selection of Avila Jan. 21. Avila, who has been coaching for 10 years, will be coaching at the NCAA Division II level for the first time in his career.
Avila said the switch from junior college competition to DII will be different, but he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’ve never played against these teams before, so I really don’t know what to expect,” Avila said. “It’ll be a brand new experience for me. That’s what I’m looking forward to, the unknown. It’s something exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking at times, but I’m definitely looking forward to that.”
Avila, who racked up a 46-22-5 record during his four years as head coach of the Barton women, said that soccer has always been a large part of his life.
“I grew up in Honduras and so I grew up around soccer,” Avila said. “That’s the main sport there, so growing up, you know, everybody played. My brother, my dad, my cousins. Everybody kind of just grows up on soccer.”
Avila moved from Honduras to Mississippi at age 12. He played soccer at Meridian Community College for two years before finishing his soccer career at Mississippi College.
Avila said he hadn’t planned on coaching in college, but decided he couldn’t leave soccer behind.
“It’s always been such a big part of my life,” he said. “I was actually going to become an engineer, but my junior year I was thinking I couldn’t see myself doing just that. I wanted to stay involved with soccer, so I got involved with coaching. “
Avila stayed on the coaching path, moving to Kansas four years ago for the position at Barton.
When the position opened up at Newman University, Avila said he was excited to apply because he felt the university was a great fit for him.
“The atmosphere, the mission of the school, the high academic standard they have here, all of that is a good fit for me,” Avila said. “I know that student-athletes who come here do take their education very seriously and that’s something that I did as well.”
Avila said he is eager to meet with his players and get started looking toward the fall season.
“There’s a good core group here and that’s a very good situation to walk into,” he said. “I know a lot of the girls, I coached two of them and there’s about five or six that I’ve actually coached against, so I’ve got to watch them play over the last couple years. But that’s one of my main goals this semester, get to know the girls better, build relationships and get ready for next fall. “