Expectations are high for new head women’s soccer coach

Athletic Director Jeff Konya announced Monday, March 6 that Juan Pablo Favero is the new head coach of the Oakland University women’s soccer team. Favero replaces Margaret Saurinwhose resignation was announced Jan. 27.

Favero joins Oakland Athletics after spending five years as the associate head coach of women’s soccer at San Diego State University.

During his time at SDSU, Favero helped lead the Aztecs to 74 wins, the most in a five-year span in program history. The team also won four back-to-back regular season titles under his leadership, as well as three Mountain West tournament championships. The success led the Aztecs to three NCAA tournament appearances, including the Sweet 16 in 2012.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity, very excited about the opportunity, and obviously, very optimistic about what we’re going to do at Oakland,” Favero said. “Everyone has been very open and welcoming, and confirms my decision to take this next step in my career at Oakland University.”

Favero has been coaching college soccer for more than 22 years at the NCAA Division I, Division II and NAIA levels. He also has been a head coach for 11 seasons at three different schools for both men’s and women’s soccer programs. Under his supervision, five teams have made NCAA tournament appearances and nine conference championships.

Relationships between the players and the coach are key components to Favero’s coaching style.  In discussions with members of Oakland’s Athletics administration after Saurin’s resignation, the women’s soccer team members mentioned they wanted a coach who they knew really cared about them.  

“Having led programs before, and the way I do things, it’s really all about relationships,” Favero said. “The thing that I’m most looking forward to is getting to know the players and building a relationship with them. We’re going to have some obstacles to overcome, but when you have a close knit-group, and that’s one of the things I believe in and I work very hard at building, then you can enjoy it, even in those difficult moments because you do it together.”

Since his hiring, Favero has had time to become acquainted with the faculty and staff of Athletics, as well as members of the women’s soccer team, even though he hasn’t officially started yet. Junior midfielder Vladanka Gurovski said his attitude is “positive and optimistic.”

“He didn’t beat around the bush,” Gurovski said. “He told us what he meant, his commitment and how grateful he was that he had been hired. He knows that we have a lot to work on and is really committed to working with us and being a head coach.”

Favero said he is looking forward to coming back to Oakland to get started with the spring season.

“I’m very excited . . . to start actually coaching [at Oakland and for] the soccer aspect, and to use the spring to prepare for the fall and when the games actually count,” Favero said. “The short answer is, I’m looking forward to it all because I’ve been in this role before, but it’s been a little while since I’ve been in the head coach position.”

Gurovski said the student-athletes are also looking forward to working with their new head coach.

“I think the energy that he brings is something that’s incomparable to any coaches that I’ve had in the past, including club soccer,” she said. “He just brings this fiery passion for soccer and passion for the team. He has his own family and called us his other family, and that the combination of both is really important to building a strong team on and off the field. So, I’m looking forward to that, his commitment and devotion to the team.”