After guiding the Rebels to four consecutive winning seasons, Dan Abdalla looks to continue that success in his fifth year at the helm of the UNLV women's soccer program.
The winningest women's soccer mentor with an overall 42-33-6 (.556) ledger, Abdalla was appointed on Feb. 22, 2000, as the second head coach in the program's six-year history. He previously served in the role of assistant coach and assumed the reins prior to spring practice in 2000.
Since then, Abdalla has raised the bar and standards at UNLV. In his debut as a Division I head coach during the 2000 season, the Rebels posted an 11-9 overall record (.550), a 7-1 home record at Peter Johann Memorial Field and a fourth-place league finish, for their best season mark since the program's inception in 1998. A 3-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the season opener marked his first collegiate coaching win on Aug. 25.
In 2001, the Rebels claimed a school record 12 victories, reached the Mountain West Conference championship game for the first time in school history, defeated league rival Utah for the first time and was considered for postseason competition. In the 2003 campaign, the Rebels finished with a 9-9-3 record against one of the toughest schedules in program history, and included the first ever wins over San Diego State (regular season and again in postseason). Abdalla also saw Annii Magliulo become the first Rebel to earn all-region honors after the season. In his four years, he has coached nine all-conference selections and the program's first WUSA draft pick to date
A four-year letterwinner and starting goalkeeper for the UNLV men's soccer team from 1994-97, Abdalla set a pair of school records which remain untouched. In his four-year career, he registered 321 saves and nine shutouts compiled over 68 games for an impressive 1.95 goals against average. He also holds the school record for saves in a season with 101.
Abdalla returned to his alma mater in 1999 after a two-year professional playing career with the Orange County Zodiac of the A League, an affiliate of the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy. In four matches with the Zodiac, Abdalla posted a 1-1 record in goal and recorded his first professional win against the U.S. Pro-40 Select team. He continued to train with the Zodiac through the summer, prior to making his move back to Las Vegas.
"It's very evident to me that Dan will succeed as a coach because he knows what is expected from a student-athlete's standpoint," UNLV Director of Soccer Barry Barto said of his former pupil. "He has made the transition from a player to an assistant coach to a coach at UNLV and utilizes what he has learned in each position. He has a great attitude, an excellent work ethic and plenty of enthusiasm, which will bring him success on-and-off the field."
The Mission Viejo, Calif., native is a 1997 graduate of UNLV earning a bachelor's degree in communications. Abdalla, 29, resides in Las Vegas with his wife Jennifer.
THE ABDALLA FILE