Leslie Wray enters her highly-anticipated third season at the helm of the UMBC women’s soccer program after guiding the Retrievers to an historic season in 2013.
Wray was named the eighth head coach in the program’s history in January of 2012 and helped the Retrievers’ program celebrate its 25th season in her first year at the controls, completing the campaign with a program record five ties and leading UMBC to its first win in over a season.
In just her second season with the program, Wray guided the Retrievers to a Cinderella run. With a combined 14 wins in its priors six seasons, UMBC registered the third-biggest turnaround in Division I women’s soccer in 2013 and the largest turnaround in America East history. Two years removed from a wineless 2011 season, Wray helped the Retrievers to post a program-record 13 wins, a share of its first-ever regular-season title, league crown and NCAA Tournament appearance. UMBC put up a fight, battling College Cup Semifinalist Virginia Tech in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked in the top-10 of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Northeast Region Poll.
The Retrievers became the first team to complete the worst-to-first turnaround during America East action, moving from 0-5-3 conference record in 2012 to a 6-2-0 mark in 2013. Wray and her staff were honored by being named the America East Coaching Staff of the Year, the second staff in program history to receive the honor. Red-shirt junior Jessy Brown became the first UMBC women’s soccer player to take home a major award from the America East, by being recognized as Co-Midfielder of the Year. The Retrievers would also have four players named to the All-Tournament Team, with Brown receiving the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. Brown would also garner Eastern College Athletic Association (ECAC) All-Star Second Team honors and NSCAA All-Region Third Team recognition.
In addition to five players receiving All-Conference recognition, Brown and sophomore back Nikki Boretti proved that Wray’s Retrievers can get things done in the classroom as well as the field. The duo became the third and fourth members of the program to earn spots on the league’s All-Academic Team. Brown was also named to the NSCAA University Division Women’s Scholar All-East Region Second Team.
The squad also did its part in the community, participating in Headers for Hope, which raised nearly 18 thousand dollars for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, as well as selling shirts for the team’s annual Fight in Pink game, with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen fund.
Prior to UMBC, Wray served as the head coach at Towson University from 1999-2006 and recorded the most victories of any coach in that program’s history. She resigned from her position after the 2006 season in order to stay at home with her young children.
In her second season at Towson, the 2000 Tigers tied a school record with 10 victories and reached the America East semifinals. Half of TU’s losses came at the hands of teams that went to the NCAA Tournament, including 1-0 setbacks to No. 8 Hartford and No. 9 Maryland.
In 2005, her tenacious defense produced six shutouts and allowed only 21 goals in 18 games as Towson went 8-7-3 as members of the Colonial Athletic Association.
The former Leslie Kerhin was a first team all-state selection at Parkville High School and earned junior college All-America status at Essex Community College in 1992. She then started for three seasons at Maryland and finished her Terrapin career with six goals and 15 assists.
After graduation, Wray spent two years as an assistant coach at Towson (1996-97) and two seasons in the same capacity at the University of Missouri (1997-99). She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Maryland and her master’s in education at Missouri.
In 2000, she married Sean Wray, also a 1995 Maryland graduate and soccer standout for the Terrapins. In July of 2006, the couple welcomed a son, Roman, and a daughter, Melena, and in 2007, Ashton, joined the family.
Wray played for the USWISL Maryland Pride team for three years and was a member of its National Championship Team. She served as a co-head coach for the Maryland Olympic Program from 2000-04 and guided the U-16 and U-17 squads to regional titles in 2003 and 2004, respectively.