App State women’s soccer’s Haywood eager to start winning


Courtesy of Brady McBride, App State Athletics

App State women’s soccer head coach Aimee Haywood at her introductory press conference Dec. 20.

Alex Urquiza, Reporter

App State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Aimee Haywood as the new head coach for the women’s soccer program Dec. 16, bringing a conclusion to their national search for the role.

“We wanted someone who was a proven winner that has won everywhere they’ve been,” Gillin said.

Haywood joins the Mountaineers from Queens University of Charlotte, where she spent two seasons there as its head coach, completely changing the program in two seasons. Before Haywood’s arrival, Queens never reached the final for the South Atlantic Conference, and the program has only made it to the second round of the NCAA Championship once.

In her first season as head coach for Queens, she led the Royals to their first South Atlantic Conference Final in a COVID-impacted season, finishing with a 7-2-1 overall record. Haywood managed to outperform her first season last fall as she took the Royals to the SAC final again, finishing the season with a 16-5-1 record, the most wins in the program’s history. Haywood also took Queens to the second round of the NCAA Championships, the second time in the program’s history.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to lead this program and to work at App State,” said Haywood at her introductory press conference. “My vision for this program is to develop some strong momentum and to get this program to the top of the Sun Belt Conference.”

Haywood is the fifth head coach in the women’s soccer program history, taking over from former head coach Sarah Strickland after she spent 12 years with the program. In preparation for next season, Haywood has planned to put together a strong non-conference schedule to help the program learn how to compete against some of the best programs.

“I’ve always been a coach that plays a hard schedule, and it has always pulled off,” Haywood said. “It’s going to help us identify the standard and what we need to do to get there.”

Haywood also explained in her press conference her change in recruiting, aiming for international students to represent the Black and Gold.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time recruiting in North Carolina, but we won’t be limited,” Haywood said. “This is a great place, and we can find top talent student-athletes across the country and even internationally.”

Haywood finished her opening statement talking about bringing a new winning mentality to the program.

“Lastly, we are going to find a way to win,” Haywood said. “My student-athletes better get used to hearing that. I love teaching my teams about being a competitor and how to win and how it looks.”

Mark Catterall and Mikalya Krzeczowski were announced as assistant coaches Feb. 9. Catterall and Krzeczowski join Haywood from Queens, Catterall being the former associate head coach and Krzeczowski the former goalkeeper coach.