Nicole Acosta has stepped down after two successful seasons as Arizona Western’s women’s soccer coach.
Acosta announced her decision in a Twitter post Tuesday afternoon.
Reached by the Sun on Tuesday evening, Acosta referenced a few reasons for why she’s moving on from the program that she coached to a 33-8-3 record.
“Just kind of things that have gone on (at AWC),” she said. “And I got other opportunities to go coach at other places. I’m just going to weigh my options and go from there.”
Acosta did not specify what opportunities she’s received, but did say they are all at the collegiate level and include both head-coaching roles and assistant-coaching.
Acosta was hired by AWC in the summer of 2018. The then-28-year-old had never been a head coach at the collegiate level before, but that didn’t prevent her from guiding the Matadors to their best-ever season in 2018, when they put together a 20-0 regular season and qualified for nationals for the first time.
The 2019 team was unable to replicate that success, but still managed a third-place finish in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and a run to the Region I Final.
Acosta’s six-paragraph Twitter post Tuesday alluded to several potential factors behind her decision. Of note, she wrote: “As for the past two years I would be lying if I said it’s been easy. Tested daily.. I as a person and coach have standards. I will and can not compromise the integrity of my decisions based on a parents political pressure or position. I believe strongly in the value of athletics and that being on a team is a privilege.”
Asked to expand on that thought, Acosta said only: “When you have standards and you try to carry a program a certain way, there’s always going to be those ones that push back, complain over certain things. It almost felt like high school, to be honest, just certain things that went on.”
Acosta added that she “felt a lack of support from certain areas at AWC,” but noted that did not extend to athletic director Jerry Smith, who “always supported and did awesome.”
This was only AWC’s seventh season as a program, but it will mark the fifth coaching change in the program’s short history. Men’s coach Kenny Dale coached the women’s team its first two seasons, Marisela Velasquez took over for one year in 2015, and Alexia Poon preceded Acosta from 2016-17.