Neil Stafford enters his second season at the helm of the UC women's soccer program. He was named the fifth head coach in the history of UC women's soccer on Nov. 26, 2012.
In his first year with the Bearcats, Stafford guided the team to an 8-11-1 overall record and 4-4-1 in league play. It marked only the fourth time in the last 10 seasons that UC accumulated eight or more wins and only the second time in 10 years that they had four or more conference wins. Cincinnati, who was picked to finish ninth in the AAC, surprised the league by finishing sixth, despite being tied for third entering their final conference match.
Stafford came to UC from Central Michigan University, where he has spent four years with the Chippewas, including two as the head coach. While at the helm of CMU, he guided the program to a 30-10-4 record and the garnered the Mid-American Conference's first at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
During his two seasons as the assistant at CMU, the Chips won back-to-back MAC titles and earned a pair of NCAA Tournament berths.
Prior to his time as an assistant at CMU, Stafford spent eight seasons as the head women's soccer coach at Assumption, where he is the program's all-time winningest coach with a 72-61-15 ledger.
At Assumption, he was named the Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year in 2004 after guiding the Greyhounds to their first NE-10 conference final, NCAA Division II Tournament berth and NCAA Regional final appearance. Assumption finished the season 14th in the nation with a final record of 15-6. Stafford's squad followed up the breakthrough 2004 campaign with another NCAA Tournament appearance in 2005, finishing 15-4-4 and returning to the NCAA Regional finals, climbing as high as third in the nation.
A graduate of Marlborough (Mass.) High School, Stafford lettered in soccer, hockey and tennis and led his soccer team to the semifinals of the state tournament as a junior. He also prepped a year at Worcester Academy where he was named team MVP and earned all-New England honors.
Stafford attended Norwich University, competing in both tennis and soccer, and was named an all-region NESCAC player before transferring to Southern New Hampshire. He led the Penmen to a two-year record of 29-4-4 and then joined the coaching staff as an assistant coach for three years (1995-97), during which the team advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. He also played professionally with the Boston Storm of the USL.
Stafford was named the Director of Operations with the Boston Renegades (W-League) in 1998 and was also Director of the W-1 National Championships in Boston that year. He later served as the head assistant coach of the Boston Renegades under Peter Bradley (1999-2001). The Renegades advanced to three national final fours and won two W-League National Championships in his final three years. His U-18 Renegades were the national runner-ups in 2000. Stafford also worked with Seacoast United Soccer Club in Hampton, N.H., as the Girls Coaching Director (2002-05). In the summer of 2004, Stafford's Seacoast United Girls 15 squad won its first Super Y-League National Championship.
Stafford earned his bachelor's degree from Southern New Hampshire in 1996 while majoring in sociology.