After three seasons at the helm of the Oklahoma soccer program, head coach Matt Potter has begun to see his vision for the team take shape. A proven leader and builder of successful programs, Potter arrived at OU in December 2011 with the goal of positioning the Sooners as one of the nation's elite soccer teams.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Oklahoma's 2014 squad was its youth. The roster was composed of ten freshmen and 12 sophomores, and inexperienced Sooners saw significant playing time. Potter got the most out of his young lineup, and he guided defender Laura Rayfield and midfielder Lizzie Luallin to All-Big 12 Newcomer team honors.
In his second season as head coach, the Sooners finished with a 4-13-1 record, recording shutouts for all four wins and battlng to a 1-1 tie at Utah. Potter also helped guide two freshmen to solid seasons with midfielders Jemma Cota and Paige Jacobs earning selections to the All-Big 12 Newcomer team.
Potter led Oklahoma to a 7-9-4 record in his first season as head coach, the most wins by a rookie head coach in Sooner history. Potter's squad also qualified to the program's third consecutive Big 12 tournament, another first for the program. Perhaps one of the crowning moments of the season for his team was a 1-0 upset win over in-state rival and then-No. 3 ranked Oklahoma State in Norman on Sept. 7, 2012.
In addition to the achievements of the team as a whole, Potter's guidance led to multiple individuals to successful seasons. Senior forward Renae Cuellar had a breakout season at OU after transferring from Arizona. Cuellar was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, the first Sooner in program history to earn the title. Cuellar was also named to the NCAA Division I All-Central Region first team by the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America (NSCAA) and captured first All-Big 12 and Big 12 All-Newcomer team honors.
A hallmark of any Potter-led team is achievement in the classroom as well as on the field, and the 2012 Sooners followed suit under his leadership. The squad earned Team Academic Award Recognition from the NSCAA, carrying a team grade point average of 3.25. In addition, senior Katharine Nutman earned 2012 Capital One Academic All-District 7 Women's Soccer first team honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Prior to his arrival at Oklahoma, Potter established Washington State's program into one of the Pac-12's elite with a school record 88 wins (88-69-26 overall) at the helm, including five double-digit win seasons and three appearances in the NCAA tournament. The Cougars advanced into the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2011 and 2009. Prior to his arrival, Washington State advanced to three NCAA tournaments since the program's inception in 1989.
While coaching 32 all-conference selections and seven players that have taken part of national team camps or competitions at Washington State, the program's success in the classroom did not go unnoticed during Potter's tenure. He has helped mentor 108 student-athletes that have earned academic all-conference accolades and Washington State received the NSCAA Team Academic Award in 2011, marking the seventh time the program earned the honor under Potter.
Potter took leadership of the Cougar program in July of 2003, just a few months after being named an assistant in February. Potter was 6-11-2 in his first season after taking over for Dan Tobias, who took the head coaching job at the University of Arizona in 2003. Following his debut season, Potter's Cougar teams rattled off six straight winning seasons and the 2006 squad tied a program record with 10 shutouts.
In the past five seasons on the field, Washington State has enjoyed four campaigns with double-digit wins and a combined 54-37-14 record. The Cougars were also ranked in the top 25 polls in four of those seasons, including a school record eight straight weeks in 2009.
Most recently, Washington State returned to the big dance in 2011 and advanced to the second round for the second time in the last three years. The Cougars posted a 12-7-4 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12 with a program best six wins in conference play (6-3-2 mark). Four Cougars earned all-conference honors and two were named to the coaches' association all-region team.
The Cougars tied a program record for wins with 14 in 2009 after topping Villanova in the first round of the NCAA tournament. It marked the first back-to-back appearances in the postseason for Washington State. The 2009 club tied WSU's highest finish in the Pac-10 standings (third) with a 5-2-2 mark, finished the year ranked No. 18 in the nation, and set or tied 22 school records in the process.
In 2008, Potter and the Cougars' appearance in the NCAA tournament marked the fourth in program in history and first since 2002.
Prior to his stint in Pullman, Wa., Potter was the head coach for the women's team at Scottsdale Community College. In his only season with the Artichokes, he led Scottsdale to the 2002 ACCAC playoffs with a 9-7-1 record.
He spent eight years with the Sereno Soccer Club in Arizona, working as a head coach and trainer. Potter led the `88 girls team to a Region IV second place finish, three third place finishes and four Arizona state titles. That squad and the `84 girls team were consistently ranked as one of the top 10 teams in Region IV. Potter's `84 team won seven consecutive state titles and overall, he placed nine players on the Region IV team and three advanced to the youth national team pool.
He graduated from West London College of Brunel University in 1992 with an honors degree in physical education and religious, social and moral education. In 1991, he helped lead West London to the National British College title. Potter was also involved with the English national team, representing the country at the U-19 international level. He rose to the top of the game and played professionally for Watford F.C. as a central midfielder. He also worked as a community director with the Brentford Football Club in London.
Originally from Mere, England, Potter is married to Olga and has one daughter, Cassidy, and three stepdaughters Andrea, Marissa and Valerie.
Potter holds a USSF "A" license, a NSCAA Premier License and is currently the Region IV Olympic Development Program (ODP) head coach for the girls `88 age group. He has served on the regional staff since 1998 and also was give a preliminary and Teaching Award from the English Football Association.