April Heinrichs became the first female player inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
She started playing soccer at six and, in the eighth grade, joined a select team and went on to help her high school team win two state championships.
But despite her background, no soccer scholarships came her way, so she went to a small Colorado college on a basketball scholarship, hoping that some coach would find her.
University of North Carolina
But somehow, a youth coach from Virginia saw her play and recommended her to University of North Carolina (UNC) Head Coach Anson Dorrance.
Not long after that, April Heinrichs was on her way east and played four years of collegiate soccer in Chapel Hill, being named a first-team All-American three times.
During that time, UNC captured three NCAA championships and finished as runner-up during the other season. She completed her college career at UNC as the all-time NCAA leader in points scored with 225, made up of 87 goals and 51 assists, a record later eclipsed by Mia Hamm.
April was captain of the 1991 World Cup-winning US team and was one of the most creative players in women’s national team history. She finished her career with 38 goals in 47 games.
Becoming A Coach
In 1986 and 1989, she was named US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year. She later served as a full-time assistant coach to the US Women’s team and head coach at the University of Virginia.
April Heinrichs served as the United States Women’s National Team Head Coach.
In 2000, she became the US Women’s National Team’s fourth official head coach and first female coach. During Heinrichs’ time as coach of the WNT, the USA won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics, a third-place finish at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.
As a result of winning gold at Athens, she left USWNT Soccer. She returned to college soccer before working for the United States Olympic Committee for four years as Sports Performance Director.
April Heinrichs Becomes Technical Director
After serving as Technical Director for the Women’s Youth National Teams for eight years, she returned to the US National Women’s Soccer Team in 2011.
From U-14 through U-20, America has a National Team for every birth year, staffed by full-time head coaches thanks to April.
April Heinrichs and Jill Ellis were hired to oversee the Women’s Youth National Team program and the programs’ overall development in 2011, marking the first time US Soccer appointed full-time positions to do so.
A remarkable run has come to an end. Nevertheless, April Heinrichs’ contributions to soccer over the past 30-plus years merit a standing ovation, just as any great show contains characters, drama, loss, and triumph.
April Heinrichs Facts, Stats, And Figures
Full Name: April Dawn Heinrichs
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado
- North Carolina Tar Heels 1983–1986
- FCF Juventus 1987
- Prato Wonder 1988–1989
National Soccer Career:
- United States Women’s Soccer Team 1986–1991
Total Appearances: 47 matches (37 goals)
- Princeton University 1990
- University of Maryland 1991–1995
- University of Virginia 1996–1999
- United States (assistant) 1995–2000
- United States 2000–2005
- UC Irvine 2006
- USSF Technical Director 2011–2012
April Heinrichs Was Inducted Into US Hall Of Fame: 1998
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!