Becker builds Jimmies women's soccer program into perennial contenders

Becker became the winningest coach in program history with his 38th win in a 4-1 win over Johnson and Wales on Sept. 25, 2016.

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Nick Becker coaches the University of Jamestown's women's soccer team during their win over Mount Marty on Oct. 12, 2022.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — When Nick Becker was hired as the University of Jamestown women’s soccer head coach in 2012, Phil Bohn was transitioning out of his role as the coach for both the men’s and the women’s teams and into a role as just the men’s coach. The Jimmies women's soccer team was not doing well on the field, having one winning season and five head coaches in the 16 years prior to his arrival.

In his first season at the helm, Becker let the team to an 8-9-2 record as he worked to lay the groundwork for a successful program. That season, the Jimmies made it to the Association of Independent Institutions conference championship game, where they lost 2-0 to Ashford University.

“When I first got here, we had the previous spring with nine players and I took it over and there were 17 kids and I was hired late and the first objective was just to have the players stay healthy and finish the season because the year before they finished with nine,” Becker said. “So that objective was can we keep 19 players healthy, can we keep them all on the same page. We ended up making the conference tournament which was top four at the time and we got to fly out to San Diego.”

Becker had his first winning season in 2016, going 12-6-1, and since that season, the Jimmies' worst season by record was in 2020 when they went 13-8. During the early years of his tenure, Becker said he had to fight with his players to accept the changes he was implementing. He also said another challenge was recruiting and growing the brand of the program.

“The biggest growing pain was every time we added something, it was fighting tooth and nail with the current players that are here,” Becker said. “So, for example, they didn’t do anything in the offseason. So, when I came in we started to lift three days a week, we started to do individual training. We started to do study tables, so the moment you implement one of those things it was fighting tooth and nail but then eventually as new players came in, they didn’t know any different.”


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Becker oversaw the Jimmies' bounce from being unaffiliated to now in their fifth conference in program history.

“I think the only direction it could go was up,” Becker said. “They won three games, the year before, they barely had a team, so I think the only direction we really could go was in the up direction. We played Northern every year, so I could compare and say, ‘We’re way behind them’, and now eventually we started to get closer and closer to them. So, when we started beating them, we started having more players on the team than them, we started winning more games than them, I think those are the focal points you can use to see if your program is growing.”

Before he got to what was then Jamestown College, Becker played soccer at Briar Cliff University and Presentation College before he served as a graduate assistant at Northern State University for two years from 2008 through 2010. After he finished with the Wolves, Becker worked odd jobs while staying in the sport as a new father.

“After going and doing the GA at Northern for two years, I was still coaching club and the jobs just didn’t open that we wanted,” Becker said. “At the time, I already had a kid and my wife was still in college, so it had to be the right fit. We were patient with that and I took a job as a personal training manager at Anytime Fitness. So, that happened to land immediately after I finished grad school, so it made sense to stay for a year, and then that’s when the Jamestown job ended up opening up later.”

Becker said he has changed and grown more open to viewing situations from every angle over his time as the bench boss.

“In the recruiting process, you’re looking for maybe some different things that you want as a whole, student-athlete as well, but also it’s not just about soccer, it’s about creating the person and getting the education,” Becker said. “So, I think sometimes you have to step back and look at situations differently whereas when I was first here, it was black and white, these are the rules, you have to do this, this and this. So, I think over time, I’ve developed an idea to look at the situation a little more conceptually.”

Becker led the Jimmies to its second trip ever to the NAIA National Tournament and a regular season conference title. The Jimmies started the current season 1-4-1 before turning the season around, entering the game against Dakota Wesleyan on Wednesday, Oct. 26, with a 10-game winning streak.

Becker credits his team’s turnaround to the schedule becoming less mentally and physically taxing as the Jimmies started the season with trips to St. Louis, Missouri, and Oregon.

My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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