Utica College Athletic Director David Fontaine announced the hiring of Brooke Barbuto as the new head coach of the women's soccer program on Thursday, June 20, 2019. Barbuto comes to Utica after spending last season on the sidelines at SUNY Cortland. Barbuto replaces Eileen Blumenauer, who recently accepted a full-time assistant coaching position at defending Division III national champion Williams College.
"We're excited to have Brooke on board as the new head coach of our women's soccer program," said Fontaine. "She comes highly recommended and has worked with some great coaches in the past. Having played at a high level in the college and professional ranks, she understands the commitment it takes to be a successful student-athlete. We are definitely looking forward to this upcoming season."
Alongside Head Coach Heidi Axtell, Barbuto helped guide the 2018 Cortland women's soccer team to an 11-5-2 overall record and an appearance in the SUNYAC Conference Tournament Championship game. She played a role in developing six SUNYAC All-Conference selections, including United Soccer Coaches Division III Women's Soccer All-East first team pick Vanessa Romero.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here at Utica College and I could not be more thankful to President Casamento, Athletic Director Dave Fontaine and the entire Utica College community for welcoming me with open arms," said Barbuto. "I get a real sense of family atmosphere and pride here at Utica. All of the players, coaches, faculty and staff seem to love it and I am really excited about the road ahead of us."
Since 2013, she has maintained the role as Head Soccer Coach at the Syracuse Development Academy and she has also spent the past nine years as a youth soccer coach at the Central New York Family Sports Center.
Her first head coaching position after wrapping up her Division I soccer career at Stony Brook University was a two year stint at Bryant & Stratton College (2009-2010). During her time at Bryant & Stratton she planned, implemented, and managed the day-to-day operations of the Division III NJCAA women's soccer program. She also planned and organized all training and skill instruction on an individual and team level and was accountable for managing and executing athletic scholarships established by the College. This opportunity provided her with a wealth of experience as she also coordinated all travel, hotel, and meal arrangements for the team and was responsible for recruitment and evaluation of potential student athletes and planning college visits.
"I'm thrilled to get going and to meet the team on a deeper level," said Barbuto. "The idea of continuing to build this program for future success and to create a championship culture is really exciting."
Barbuto has an extensive professional playing resume that began in 2009 with the Buffalo Flash. The Flash played in what was widely regarded as the second highest level of women's soccer in the United States.
In 2011 she began a successful seven year stretch of playing professional soccer overseas. In 2011 she led Haukar (Reykavik, Iceland) in scoring in the highly competitive Dield Division I league. She then spent two seasons in Kokkola, Finland where she earned a promotion from Ykkonen (Division I) to Naisten Liiga, was a one year captain, and the 2013 MVP.
From 2014-2016 she played for NiceFutis (Pori, Finland) in the country's highest professional soccer league. She was a two year captain, league MVP and was nominated for top athlete in Pori. Her professional career came to a close in 2017 as she guided the Peninsula Power (Brisbane, Australia) to a National Premier League Queensland Championship. She led the team and the NPL in goals scored.
"I'm definitely more of a possession style coach," said Barbuto when asked about her preferred coaching methods. "I like to build out of the back and if we have possession I think there is a greater opportunity for success."
A four-year starter at Division I Stony Brook University, she finished her college career with 17 goals and nine assists. While at Stony Brook she was selected to the All-Academic team, America East All-Rookie Team, All-America East First Team, NSCAA All-Northeast Region First Team, Soccer Buzz Magazine's All-Northeast Region Second Team, and America East Tournament All-Championship team. She served as team captain and was selected Most Valuable Player in her senior year.
Barbuto was a five-year letter winner at T.J. Corcoran High School in Syracuse, N.Y. She was a member of the National Honor Society, and was selected to First Team All-League, County, and State. She was named team MVP in her junior and senior campaigns, and was a five-time scholar athlete, a Who's Who among American High School Students selection, and tabbed as a United States Achievement Academy All-American Scholar.
The UC women's soccer program is coming off one of its most successful seasons in program history. The Pioneers finished the year with a 10-7-3 (5-2-1 Empire 8) record after falling to Stevens in the Empire 8 Championship match. This was their first E8 Tournament appearance since 2007, first E8 Championship appearance since 2006, and just the second time in program history the team has gone to the conference championship game. With just one senior among this year's All-Conference honorees, the Pioneers return a solid core for the upcoming season.