Staff
Head Coach
Jason Dowiak

University of Massachusetts Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford announced on Dec. 19, 2017 the hiring of Jason Dowiak as the new head coach of the women’s soccer program. Dowiak takes over the Minutewomen after a successful five-year stint at South Florida where he most recently served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.

“We are very excited to welcome Jason Dowiak to the Massachusetts Athletics family. Jason is a highly respected soccer coach who has been around high-achieving programs his entire career,” said Bamford. “His recent work developing South Florida into a nationally-recognized top 25 program was a tremendous plus that stood out during our search process. I have every confidence that Jason will restore our program to a level of success seen in our past.”

The Bulls enjoyed a historic year in 2017 capturing their first-ever American Athletic Conference championship title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the past four seasons. USF posted a 13-4-2 overall record marking the sixth consecutive year with 10-or-more wins – five of those with Dowiak on staff. Sophomore Evelyne Viens, who Dowiak helped recruit, earned All-America honors marking another first for the program.

“I am honored and excited to join the UMass Department of Athletics. The University of Massachusetts is an impressive institution and the women’s soccer program has a history of success that I look forward to returning to greatness,” said Dowiak. “I want to thank Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford for his confidence in my leadership and I truly look forward to being a positive addition to his exciting vision for UMass.”

Dowiak’s career in South Florida began during the 2013 campaign where he spent four years as an assistant coach before being promoted by head coach Denise Schilte-Brown to associate head coach. The Moorestown, N.J., native was named the recruiting coordinator in 2016 where he showed tremendous skill in bringing highly talented players to Tampa including two USYSA national champions, two high school players of the year, three junior college All-Americans and a CCCAA Junior College National Player of the year. His recruiting reach also extended internationally into Canada, Jamaica, Mexico, Norway, Iceland and Haiti.

In his time at South Florida, he helped mentor 22 all-conference selections which helped build the Bulls into a nationally competitive program as evidenced by its program-best No. 14 ranking in 2016.

“I also want to thank USF Athletics Director Mark Harlan, Deputy Director Barry Clements, Associate A.D. Jim Fee, and Head Women’s Soccer Coach Denise Schilte-Brown & Associate Head Coach Chris Brown for their support and guidance over the course of my time at South Florida,” said Dowiak. “I have been blessed to work for truly impactful leaders at USF and want to express my sincerest gratitude for their input in my development. I am also so grateful to have gotten to work with incredible groups of student-athletes over the years who have helped prepare me for this step in my career. I look forward to bringing my knowledge, passion and energy to the UMass women’s soccer program!”

Dowiak, who played at College of Charleston for Ralph Lundy, served as an assistant coach for the FGCU women’s program from 2011-13 and helped guide the Eagles to their highest NCAA RPI ranking and first-ever Southeast Regional ranking. Dowiak was directly involved in all aspects of a program that won its first-ever back-to-back Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament titles and earned NCAA tourney berths in his two seasons on staff.

Before Dowiak headed to Southwest Florida, he was Anderson University’s women’s soccer head coach from 2007-2011 and helped the Trojans become one of the nation’s Top 20 Most Improved NCAA D-II Programs. Dowiak led Anderson University to a Conference Carolinas Tournament appearance in his first season and later helped the program reach its first conference tournament championship game. The Ravens also posted their best overall and conference record (12-9, 8-3) in school history under Dowiak.

Dowiak has remained busy outside of college soccer as the director of Bulls Soccer Camps and the Southeast Elite College ID Camps from 2014-17. Dowiak has been a staff coach with Florida’s Olympic Development Program and the technical director and ECNL coach at Tampa Bay United Rowdies Soccer Club since 2014.

Assistant Coach
Marsha Harper

After two seasons with Atlantic 10 foe Richmond, Marsha Harper joined the UMass women's soccer staff in January 2018 reuniting with new Minutewomen head coach Jason Dowiak from their time as part of the University of South Florida program.

Harper has gained valuable experience with several schools prior to joining the UMass program. In addition to her two years at Richmond, the native of Denver, Colorado, has also coached at Bowling Green State University (2015) and Northwestern State University (2014).

In addition to her tenures as an assistant coach at the collegiate level, the USF double-graduate has spent time coaching at the club and Olympic Developmental levels.

After wrapping up her playing career, Harper volunteered as an assistant coach at South Florida in the spring of 2014 while also serving as a staff coach for the Future 50 Soccer Camp. That summer, she also served as the developmental director for the FC Tampa Rangers Soccer Club Under-13 team and an assistant coach for the Under-14 and Under-9 teams.

Outside of soccer, Harper also has experience in personal training. She served as the personal training intern at Fitness Solutions Tampa in the summer of 2011 before working as the strength and conditioning intern at USF in the summer of 2013.
Harper was a member of the University of Florida women's soccer team for three seasons before transferring to South Florida in 2011. She served as captain for the Bulls during the 2013 season. The collegiate defender earned her bachelor’s degree in applied science in 2012 and her master’s degree in exercise science at South Florida in 2014.

Assistant Coach
Sam Mitchell

Following a two-year stint with the University of Central Florida, Sam Mitchell joined the UMass women's soccer program in February 2018 as assistant coach to complete Jason Dowiak's staff for the Minutewomen.

"I am thrilled to have Sam on our staff," said Dowiak. "He has a wealth of knowledge in the game and will is a tremendous asset in the development of our players both technically and tactically. Sam also has some great recruiting connections through his club and international connections that will be instrumental in helping us compete for Atlantic 10 championships and achieve success at the national level."

Mitchell joined the Knights in September 2016 as a volunteer assistant coach. He also served as the Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) Girls Director for its Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) program.

"I am excited to be part of such a prestigious college and athletic program. It is amazing opportunity to work at the University of Massachusetts," said Mitchell. "I want to thank Head Coach Jason Dowiak for giving me this chance and I am looking forward to working with both him and Marsha. The university has an incredible history with athletics and I'm looking forward to assisting the women's soccer program achieve great success."

Prior to joining the Knights and OCYS, Mitchell served as the Rollins College women's soccer program's first assistant, helping to guide the Tars to their first Division II National Championship Final in program history and a No. 2 ranking in the NCAA national standings.

In 2012 Mitchell coached in youth development with VSI West Florida Flames Boy's NPL teams and the Girls ECNL program, where he guided the ECNL U-17 team through to the National Finals. ECNL is the nation's top league for young women, ages 14-18. During this time he continued his coaching education gaining the USSF B coaching license as well as receiving a Distinction in his NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.

During his time at VSI, he was also named Head Coach of VSI Tampa Bay FC Super 20's team as well as Assistant coach for the PDL and Professional team from 2012-2013. He led the Super 20's and the U17 ECNL Girls team to National finals in 2012.

Mitchell graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Kent Canterbury in England before playing five seasons of semi-professional soccer in England for London Colney FC & Tring Athletic.