Shelley Smith – Head Women's Soccer Coach
If there was ever any question about the program Shelley Smith has built, it was put away at the end of the 2011 season when Smith's South Carolina squad won its second piece of conference hardware in a three-year span and advanced to its fifth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Smith’s program has continued its upward trajectory and begins the 2015 season riding the momentum of the school’s first NCAA Quarterfinal appearance.
After a regular season that saw Smith collect her 200th career head coaching victory, a pair of wins over top-10 teams and Savannah McCaskill earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors, a postseason run cemented the 2014 team’s place in the record book. The Gamecocks were awarded their second-straight national seed in the NCAA Tournament after posting a 14-6-5 record and an SEC Tournament Semifinal appearance and hosted rival Clemson in the first round. A heart-stopping penalty kick shootout the No. 22 Tigers at Stone Stadium ultimately ended with South Carolina advancing. Against Seattle in the second round, the Gamecocks earned their second-straight shutout, despite missing All-American Sabrina D’Angelo in goal due to an injury. Freshman Abbey Crider stepped between the pipes for her first collegiate start and delivered two crucial saves in the team’s second round of penalty kicks in as many games to move the Gamecocks on to the Round of 16 for just the second time in school history. Two days later, Crider posted her second shutout of the weekend, this time against No. 6 North Carolina on their home turf. The 1-0 victory advanced South Carolina to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. South Carolina is the only active Division I soccer program with a winning record against the vaunted Tar Heels, with both wins coming in Chapel Hill with Smith at the helm. Florida State proved to be too much in the national quarterfinal, but the program had taken another step and wrapped up the season ranked No. 9 in the final NSCAA rankings, tying a program high.
After only seven wins in 2012, Smith's program re-emerged on the national scene in 2013, rising to as high as No. 7 in the NSCAA poll. A 1-0 defeat of No. 7 Duke during the opening weekend was just the beginning. With only one loss on their record heading to No. 8 Florida in early October, the Gamecocks became the first program in the SEC to topple the Gators in consecutive matches in Gainesville, Fla., (2011 & 2013) as they pulled off a dramatic 2-1 win in double overtime. It marked the first time program history that a Gamecock team had defeated pair of Top 10 opponents in the same season.Read more »
Jamie Smith – Associate Head Women's Coach
Jamie Smith is in his 14th year as associate head coach and 16th season overall with the South Carolina women's soccer program in 2015. In his first two years at USC, Smith was an assistant coach for the Gamecocks before being promoted to associate head coach in April 2003.
Smith has been instrumental in developing South Carolina into the top defensive unit in the SEC and as one of the top units in the nation. In working with the backs, Smith has turned the program into a unit that has been ranked in the top two in the SEC every season since 2007. The squad led the conference in every major defensive category in 2009, including goals allowed, shots allowed, goals against average and shutouts. That was followed with a 2010 season where the defense squad had a streak of 11 consecutive games in limiting opponents to four shots on goal or less, and finished the regular season as the SEC's leader in every major defensive category including goals against average, shutouts, shots allowed and points allowed.
The Gamecock defensive unit was once again the top in the league in 2011 with a goals against average that was 0.2 points lower than the next team, held seven of 11 SEC opponents to four shots on goal or less and posted nine shutouts in addition to leading the conference in nearly every defensive category including goals allowed and points allowed.Read more »
MARNIE MERRITT – ASSISTANT COACH
University of South Carolina head women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith announced on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, the hiring of Marnie Merritt as an assistant coach for the Gamecocks. Merritt arrives in Columbia after spending the 2019 season at Wake Forest as a voluntary assistant coach.
“We are very excited to announce that Marnie will be joining our staff,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “I am so impressed with her drive and passion for the game throughout her playing career and her desire to pursue a coaching profession. We value the person and role model we are bringing into the program for our players and know she will be a great fit for our staff.”
"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to coach at such an amazing program, to work for the University of South Carolina and compete in the SEC again is thrilling,” Merritt said. “I look forward to being able to help our players continue to develop in all aspects of their lives. I would like to thank Shelley and Jamie Smith and the rest of the South Carolina Athletic Department and I cannot wait to get started in Columbia. Go Gamecocks!”
A Huntersville, N.C. native, Merritt is familiar with the Southeastern Conference as she was a four-year starter at Ole Miss from 2015-18 before she joined the coaching ranks. She left the Rebels as one of the best goalkeepers in school history with the second most clean sheets (21), saves (277), and wins (40) along with 1.31 goals-against average.
One of her most notable highlights while competing at Ole Miss was in 2015 when she helped the Rebels take out No. 7 Clemson in a penalty kick shootout in the NCAA Tournament. She made two critical saves while also punching through one of her own to help capture the victory on the road.
Merritt graduated in 2017 with a degree in business management and also completed a master’s degree from Ole Miss in integrated marketing communications in 2019.
Merritt previously competed with the Lake Norman Soccer Club 95 Eclipse and was named the Lake Norman Player of the Year and Charlotte Player of the Year in 2012. Merritt also participating in the U.S. U-18 and U-16 National Team Camps and a Canada U-17 National Team Camp.
Shelley Smith’s Carolina Soccer School and clinics shall be open to any and all entrants (limited only by number, age, grade level and/or gender).