Two years into his tenure at NIU, John Ross has made signfiicant improvements to NIU women's soccer program. With roots in the city of Chicago and an emphasis on defense, the Huskies look to continue to build themselves into one of the top programs in the competitive Mid-American Conference. Ross became the fourth head coach in program history Jan. 24, 2012.
Ross took over a program that finished 2-15-2 in 2012 and with the same core of players, led the team to an 8-9-2 record with the program's first positive goal differential since 2007 and a Mid-American Conference Tournament appearance. The Huskies led the MAC in fewest goals allowed at 19 in 2012, thanks in large part to second team All-Mid American Conference goalkeeper Amy Carr. The junior became the first keeper in NIU history to earn All-MAC honors after six shutouts between the sticks.
In his second season at the helm in 2013, Ross put in another successful season. The Huskies made their second straight MAC Tournament appearance under his guidance, boasting the best home record in the conference at 6-1-1. He saw then freshman Alex Elias earn a spot on the MAC All-Freshman team, the fourth women's soccer player in NIU history to claim the honor.
"John emerged as a great candidate because of his ties to the Chicagoland area and he's been a part of winning program at North Dakota State University," said Compher. "They've built that program and they've been successful in their conference. He's recruited the Midwest and he knows it very well and we believe that he's going to put together a great program. We're excited to have him and we look forward to having him in our coaching family."
Ross expressed his excitement about coming to NIU. "I want to start by thanking Jeff, Christian and other members of the hiring committee for giving me the opportunity to join the Northern Illinois athletics family," Ross said. "Jeff has created such an exciting environment at NIU and there was no question that I wanted to be a part of it."
"I want to thank the players, staff and community at North Dakota State for allowing me to be a part of NDSU for the past nine seasons," he said. "I look forward to getting started and building some excitement around the Huskies women's soccer program."
Ross began at NDSU in 2003 as the goalkeepers coach, serving in that capacity for four seasons and helping the program transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. In 2007 he was elevated to associate head coach when the Bison began play in the Summit League.
North Dakota State had a banner year in 2009 as the team won the Summit League Regular Season Championship, finishing the season with a 10-8-2 record and a 7-2 conference record. The Bison topped themselves the following season by winning the Summit League Tournament Championship and clinching NDSU's first NCAA Division I Tournament bid. There the Bison took on perennial power Texas A&M, stunning the Aggies with a 1-1 draw, before falling in penalty kicks.
North Dakota State nearly punched a ticket back to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, reaching the tournament championship for a second-consecutive season, but fell to Oakland 2-1 in the final. In Ross' nine seasons on the sidelines, NDSU posted a 96-61-17 record, including a 37-17-10 mark (.656) the last three seasons.
During his nine-year tenure at North Dakota State, Ross served as the North Dakota Youth Soccer Association Olympic Development Program Director and was an instructor in the coaching education program. He also coached Red River Soccer Club girls premier team.
The native Illinoisan said he is thrilled to return to his home state. "It means a lot to be back in Illinois," Ross said. "I have three sisters within an hour and a half from DeKalb, I have friends I grew up with nearby, and most importantly, I have the Northern Illinois soccer community. It will be nice to reconnect with people that I grew up playing soccer with and who are now coaches."
Ross started his coaching career at Triton College as the head coach of the men's program. In his two seasons with the Trojans, Ross led the team to a 28-7-2 record and the NJCAA Regional Final in 2001. He recruited and coached four youth national team players to the team.
As a player, Ross competed for Triton as a goalkeeper, winning league and regional championships in both seasons. Ross was also a member of the Trojans squad that went to the NJCAA Tournament in 1988 and 1989, where the college finished fourth and seventh.
He played professionally for the Colorado Foxes of the American Professional Soccer League in 1992 and claimed the APSL Championship that season. He also served stints with the Chicago Power in the National Professional Soccer League (indoor) and Chicago Stingers in the United States Interregional Soccer League.
Ross owns a United States Soccer Federation "A" license, as well as United States Youth Soccer Association "Youth National" and United States Soccer Federation National "C" course instructor licenses.
He is a native of Elmhurst, Ill. Ross and his wife, Charity, have one son, Jack, recently born in April 2013.
THE ROSS FILE Hometown: Elmhurst, Ill. A.A. Triton College '95 B.A. Northeastern Illinois '00 M.S. North Dakota State '08
COLLEGIATE COACHING EXPERIENCE
NORTH DAKOTA STATE (2003-11) - Associate head coach and goalkeepers coach - 2010 NCAA Tournament participants - 2009 Summit League Champions - 2011 Summit League Tournament Runner-up - Six ESPN Academic All-Americans
TRITON COLLEGE (2000-01) - Head men's soccer coach - 28-7-2 record in two seasons - 2001 NJCAA regional finalist - Recruited four Youth National Team players
CLUB COACHING EXPERIENCE
NORTH DAKOTA YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION (2003-11) - Director of Olympic Development Program - Coaching education instructor
RED RIVER SOCCER CLUB (2003-11) - Girls premier team coach
COACHING LICENSES - United States Soccer Federation "A" License - United States Youth Soccer Association "Youth National" License - United States Soccer Federation National "C" Course Instructor - United States Soccer Federation "National Goalkeeping" License - United States Soccer Federation "National Fitness" License