FPU women's soccer

In a 2019 file photo, now former Franklin Pierce women’s soccer coach Jonathan Garbar addresses his players, who last captured the Northeast-10 Championship in 2018.

RINDGE — Franklin Pierce University Director of Athletics Rachel Burleson announced Tuesday that Matt Johnson has been named the fifth head coach of the university’s women’s soccer program, according to a press release.

“I am eager to add such a respected colleague and accomplished coach to our staff,” Burleson said in the statement. “Matt is not only prepared to continue the successes seen in recent years by our women’s soccer program, but will also be able to use his diverse NCAA experience to provide the best support for our student-athletes both on and off the field.”

Johnson has spent the past 15-plus years at American International College, also part of the Northeast-10 Conference, including a nine-season stint as head coach of the Yellow Jackets’ women’s soccer program from 2005 through 2013.

He was named NE10 Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012, and added East Region Coach of the Year honors in 2012. He steered the Yellow Jackets to NCAA Championship appearances in 2010, 2012 and 2013, including a semifinal run in 2013.

Johnson brings a 76-70-11 career record with him to Franklin Pierce. He went 52-23-7 over his final four seasons at the helm of the Yellow Jackets.

“I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to coach women’s soccer at Franklin Pierce University, one of the premier programs in the history of NCAA Division 2 soccer,” Johnson said in the statement. “I want to start by thanking the administration at Franklin Pierce for believing in me and giving me the chance to lead this program into the future. I am confident we have the facilities, resources and leadership to compete at the highest levels each year. In addition, I look forward to meeting the players and working with them, collectively, to achieve great things in the classroom, on the soccer field and in the community.”

Johnson replaces Jonathan Garbar, who recently departed after three seasons to take his first Division 1 head coaching job, with Florida International University. The 2018 NE10 Coach of the Year, Garbar guided the Ravens to NCAA Championship berths in 2017 and 2018, ending a six-year drought. In 2018, his squad claimed Franklin Pierce’s league-record eighth NE10 title, which was the team’s first conference crown since 2006. In all, Garbar put together a 34-15-6 mark over three seasons in Rindge.

Chris Detwiler can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1411, or cdetwiler@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Detwiler.