As head coach of the Wake Forest women's soccer team for 21 of the program's 24 seasons, Tony da Luz has built the Demon Deacons into an ACC and national powerhouse.
Through 2017, he holds a 248-156-42 record at Wake Forest, with his 248 wins ranking third among coaches of ACC programs since the conference first recognized women's soccer in 1987. Da Luz is one of only 10 coaches in Wake Forest history across all sports to win 200 games at the helm of the Demon Deacons.
Under da Luz's guidance, Wake Forest has earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament in 18 of his 21 seasons. In 2011 he achieved his greatest success to date, leading the Demon Deacons to their first-ever College Cup appearance.
Recent years have seen Wake Forest reach a new level of women's soccer prominence. The Deacons captured the 2010 ACC Championsip, the first in the history of the program, and made a return trip to the ACC Tournament final in 2011. The 2012 Wake Forest squad finished in a tie for second place in the ACC standings, equaling the program's best-ever finish. After a three-year drought, the team returned to the ACC Tournament in 2017, meaning no class under da Luz has ever gone without making an ACC Tournament appearance.
Wake Forest's success under da Luz has not only been limited to the conference level. In addition to their 17-straight NCAA Tournament appearances through 2015, the Deacons also advanced to at least the second round in eight straight seasons and have reached the NCAA Quarterfinals twice - culminating in the program's first College Cup in 2011. The team returned to the second round of the tournament in 2017, the 18th appearance under da Luz for the Demon Deacons. Under da Luz's guidance, Wake Forest has constantly produced some of the most talented players in the nation.
Former Deacon Katie Stengel helped lead the U.S. U-20 team to the 2012 FIFA U-20 World Cup title, starting at forward in the championship match. Stengel led the ACC in scoring in both her freshman and sophomore years, scoring 16 goals in 2010 and 19 goals in 2011, becoming the first-ever Wake Forest player to lead the conference in scoring and the first player since North Carolina's Mia Hamm in 1992 and 1993 to win the ACC's goal-scoring title in back-to-back seasons. She was named the 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, the first Demon Deacon to take home that award, after having taken home ACC Freshman of the Year and Top Drawer Soccer National Freshman of the Year honors in her freshman season. Stengel earned All-America honors in all four of her seasons at Wake Forest.
Former Wake Forest goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe also earned widespread recognition as one of the best keepers in the country. A two-time NSCAA All-American and two-time All-ACC honoree, Bledsoe holds the Wake Forest all-time shutout record.
In total 45 Deacs have earned All-ACC honors under da Luz, including 14 first-team selections, one ACC Player of the Year and three ACC Rookies of the Year. Da Luz has helped guide four Freshmen All-Americans and 13 to the ACC?All-Freshman team, including one National Rookie of the Year winner. Also, 26 Deacs have been named All-Southeast Region, two have been named to All-East region teams and 12 have been selected to ACC Championship all-tournament teams, while the team has continually been ranked among the top-25 in the nation. Long respected as one of the nation's top managers, da Luz was named the 1998 ACC Coach of the Year in a vote of his peers.
2017 was an impressive feat for da Luz and the Demon Deacons. The team returned to the national rankings for the first time since 2014, reaching as high as No.15 in the United Soccer Coaches poll. After being selected to finish ninth in the preseason ACC polls, the Deacs finished fifth in the standings and returned to the ACC Tournament. Wake Forest then returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012, making it to the second round. The team was one of two teams in the ACC to beat three different top-20 RPI opponents in the regular season. At the end of the season, four Deacons earned All-ACC honors while a program-record six were named to the All-ACC Academic Team.
Maddie Huster and Ally Haran were both selected in the NWSL Draft at the end of the 2017 campaign. They were the first Deacs to be drafted right out of Wake Forest since 2013.
The 2011 season was the culmination of da Luz's methodical build-up of Wake Forest to one of the nation's elite teams. Led by ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie Stengel along with 12-goal scorer Rachel Nuzzolese and All-ACC First Team performer Aubrey Bledsoe, the team jumped out to an 11-1-1 start. The Deacons turned it up a notch in the postseason, upsetting top-seed Duke to reach the ACC Championship Match for the second year in a row, and earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time before posting multi-goal wins over Oakland, Boston University, Penn State and UCF to reach their first-ever College Cup. The 2011 squad finished with a program-best 18-4-4 record and was ranked as high as No. 3 nationally in the NSCAA poll and No. 1 in the NCAA RPI ranking - with both marks the highest in program history.
Da Luz achieved what might be his most impressive accomplishment in 2010 when he guided a team that was picked to finish seventh in the preseason to the program's first-ever ACC Championship. Under his tutelage, freshman forwards Katie Stengel and Rachel Nuzzolese established themselves as one of the most dynamic striking duos in the nation. As a rookie, Stengel set new school records with 16 goals and 37 points and received numerous honors, including ACC Freshman of the Year and TopDrawerSoccer National Rookie of the Year.
Da Luz enjoyed one of his most successful seasons in 2009, as the Demon Deacons finished the year with a 16-6-2 record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Wake Forest's national ranking was as high as No. 5 during the season, then highest ranking in program history, and the Deacs finished the year with a No. 8 national ranking. Goalkeepers Amanda Barasha and Laura Morse combined for a program record 15 clean sheets during the year. Led by All-Americans Kaley Fountain and Jill Hutchinson, Wake Forest easily advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, picking up a pair of home victories with a 2-0 win against Kennesaw State and a 3-0 victory against West Virginia. Wake reached its first quarterfinal appearance in program history with a dramatic 1-0 win at South Carolina on Bess Harrington's header goal as time expired. The magical run came to an end in the quarters as Wake fell, 5-2, at eventual national champion North Carolina.
The 2007 season was another successful one for the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest finished the season with a 13-7-3 record, including an impressive 6-2-2 mark in the ACC to tie for second place - its highest-ever conference finish. The Deacons advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th straight year, defeating Boston University in the first round, before falling to Connecticut in the second round.
Prior to coming to Wake Forest, da Luz coached five years at the University of San Diego, where he compiled a 46-42-3 record. Da Luz was entrusted with starting the San Diego program from the ground up in 1992 and in his final two seasons he guided his teams to a 25-13-2 mark. His final season at San Diego was his most impressive, leading the Toreros to a 15-7-1 record and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1996. His success at San Diego earned him West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1996. He was named the West Region Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association. He worked as an assistant coach for the San Diego men's team from 1985 until 1991.
He has also been active in coaching at the youth level with his involvement with the Winston-Salem Twins Club organizations.
Da Luz achieved success as a player as a midfielder and defender while at San Diego. He was an All-WCC honorable mention selection in both 1981 and 1982. As team captain in 1982, he led the Toreros in assists and earned the team MVP award. Da Luz earned his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from San Diego in 1985.
He and his wife, Amy, reside in Winston-Salem and have three children Tyler, Austin and Jonah. Austin, who was an All-ACC selection for the Wake Forest men's soccer team, currently plays for North Carolina FC in the NASL after previously spending time with the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United in MLS.
Philip Poole was hired as the women's soccer Associate Head Coach in February 2019, and enters his first season at Wake Forest in 2019.
"I am ecstatic to announce the addition of Philip Poole to our staff," head coach Tony da Luz said at the time of his hiring. "Philip has been sought by many college programs over the years because of his excellence in coaching and strong relationships at the club level. These relationships, impeccable character and stellar reputation will help us immensely in our recruiting efforts. Philip is also well-respected in the U.S. Soccer Federation and has served on U.S. National Team staffs as a coach and scout at various age groups, and has traveled extensively with the National Team program. Philip brings intensity to his training sessions and that intensity is evident in his team's performances. He sees the game the right way, and we are fortunate to have his experience and knowledge in our program."
Since 2015, Poole worked at the Charlotte Soccer Academy as the Girls US Soccer Development Academy Director and Director of Goalkeeping.
He has also been involved with U.S. Soccer since 2012, working as a coach and scout from the U-14 level up to the senior National Team, and is currently working with the U-23 squad.
"The opportunity to work for Wake Forest University and compete in the ACC was one that I could not pass up," Poole said. "I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had so many wonderful experiences throughout my career, but the chance to work alongside Tony da Luz was the major factor in accepting this position. I am really excited to help our players continue their development in all aspects of their lives."
Poole spent five years as the executive director of the Lake Norman Soccer Club. He has experience working with the Charlotte Independence and Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro), and was also the goalkeepers coach for the Puerto Rico Men's National Team from 2011-12.
Poole has prior experience in collegiate coaching, spending three years as an assistant coach at Charlotte on the men's side, and one year at Wingate, his alma mater.
He graduated from Wingate in 2004 with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management. A four-year starter, Poole helped Wingate to a pair of conference titles, served as a two-year team captain, and was named to Wingate's All-Decade Team. He also earned conference Freshman of the Year honors his rookie season.
The Newcastle, England native played as a youth player with Newcastle United before spending three seasons with the Hull City AFC.
Poole holds a U.S.S.F. National A license.
He and his wife, Melissa, have three daughters, Isabella, Jenna and Alexa.
A former four-year Demon Deacon student-athlete, Courtney Owen returned in 2016 as a volunteer assistant coach. Prior to the 2017 season, Owen was promoted to assistant coach.
Owen played at Wake Forest from 2010-13, increasing her role on the team each season. She appeared in 25 total games, including 16 her senior season. Her first-career goal came in her final home game, a game-winner against Morehead State in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
A 2014 cum laude graduate of Wake Forest with a degree in psychology, Owen joined the coaching ranks in 2014, working as a coach at Twin City Soccer Academy in Winston-Salem. She then served as assistant coach both with Lake Braddock Secondary School and Braddock Road Youth Club in Virginia from 2015-16.
While at Wake Forest, she was heavily involved in the team's soccer camps, serving as an instructor for three years before working as camp director in 2014. She also served as an intern in the Deacon Club in 2013.
Owen now resides in Winston-Salem.