BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union College Director of Athletics Dr. Darin S. Wilson recently announced the appointment of Camila Mendes as the new Lady Bulldog soccer head soccer coach.
Mendes had been the interim head coach since November when Jason Lanham resigned to pursue other interests. Now, the interim tag has been removed.
"We are excited about having Camila take over our women's soccer program," said Wilson. "A former Lady Bulldog herself, she has strong ties to the program, and I have full confidence in her ability to continue the strong tradition of women's soccer here at Union."
Mendes, who has spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach, is excited about assuming this new role.
"I look forward to the opportunity to work with this talented group of student-athletes," she said. "Over the years they have taught me a lot and I hope that they will learn from me as well. Where I come from we breathe soccer, and I am glad to still be a part of the sport even though I am no longer playing. I hope I will be able to pass my passion for the game of soccer on to the team."
A native of Campinas, Brazil, Mendes was a four-year member of the Lady Bulldogs from 2001-04, helping the team to back-to-back NAIA National Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003.
Mendes ranks 11th in program history in goals scored (33), 10th in assists (23) and 11th in points (89). A four-time All-Conference selection, Mendes was named the Appalachian Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2004. She was also recognized as a NAIA All-American honorable mention in 2002, 2003 and 2004. In addition, Mendes was named the Union College Female Athlete of the Year in 2004-05.
After leaving Union, Mendes continued her playing career as a member of the Blackburn Rovers in England in 2005, on Requios FC in Japan in 2006 and on Real Dimension in Trinidad in 2007, helping Real Dimension capture the national championship. In 2008, Mendes coached Naparima U16 Boys team in Trinidad.
She returned to Union prior to the 2008 season and helped coach the team to another NAIA National Tournament appearance in 2009.
"After being a part of the Union family as a soccer player and as an assistant coach, I am extremely happy to take on the role as head coach," said Mendes. "I have a lot of experience as a player and as a coach that will help me to bring the team together and reach our goal of success.
"When I arrived as a freshman," she continued, "Union welcomed me with open arms, even though I was far from my family the atmosphere made me feel close to home. This is why after my career as a player was over, I decided to come back."
The Lady Bulldogs posted a 12-6-1 overall record in 2010 and went 5-1 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference to earn a share of the regular-season conference championship. Union will open the 2011 campaign on Aug. 26-27 when it plays host to the Lady Bulldog Classic.