Debbie Rademacher built a career coaching women’s college soccer teams and is renowned for her role on the US Women’s National Soccer Team (1986-1991) that in 1991 won the first Women’s World Cup Championship. Debbie was in the starting lineup as the US defeated Sweden 3-2 in Panyu, China, the first game on the way to winning the championship. An experience that most people can only dream about!
Upon retiring from the US Women’s team, Debbie explains how her success as a soccer player resulted in her becoming a coach, “I had a youth coach in Needham, Margie Anderson, who became a soccer and lacrosse coach at University of New Hampshire (UNH). She asked me to be her graduate assistant. She competed in the Lacrosse World Championship my very first semester at UNH and put me in charge as the interim head coach. I fell in love with coaching, and after realizing it was a viable career, I switched my focus and aspirations.” Debbie was the Head Women’s Soccer Coach at the University of Michigan from 1994-2007, and prior to that was Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Fairfield University, and Assistant Soccer Coach at UNH and Tufts.
During high school Debbie played Varsity soccer, basketball, and tennis and reflects on her time at NHS as busy with sports, social and fun. “My life-long friends are people from Needham.” Debbie was a 3-time Boston Globe All-Scholastic Girls Soccer, and High School First Team All-American. Upon graduating from NHS in 1984, Debbie went to University of Massachusetts, Amherst to earn her BS in Sport Management, and later earned an MS in Sport Psychology from UNH.
Debbie has received countless individual and team awards throughout her career including: 4x Final Four Women’s Soccer University of Massachusetts; 3x First Team All-American UMASS; 1987 NCAA Soccer Final-Defensive MVP; Soccer America All-Century and All-Decade Team 1980’s; New England Soccer Hall of Fame; Massachusetts Soccer Hall of Fame; and National Soccer Hall of Fame-Medal of Honor 1991 Women’s Soccer Team. “The awards have special significance to me, because my soccer career started in Needham. My love of soccer was nurtured by my coaches from age eight, all the way through my graduation.”
The message Debbie would like to impart to students today is “to take advantage of opportunities and challenges that are presented to you even if they feel daunting. Surround yourself with support whether it be from parents, teachers/coaches, or peers. Don’t stress out about what you’re going “to do or be” as an adult because that is just limiting. Explore different things, because most high school kids don’t know what they want to do.”
Today Debbie plays competitive tennis, and enjoys reading, watching her kid’s activities and sports, and the occasional sprint Triathalon. She lives in Ann Arbor, MI with her husband Rob and sons Luke (16) and Jake (11).