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USM Soccer coach Mohammed El-Zare Signs Contract Extension

Southern Miss soccer coach Mohammed El-Zare.
Southern Miss soccer coach Mohammed El-Zare.(WDAM)
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 9:16 PM CDT
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Southern Miss Sports Information

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Southern Miss Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain announces soccer coach Mohammed El-Zare has agreed to a contract extension through the 2024 season.

Just wrapping up his ninth season at Southern Miss, El-Zare guided the Golden Eagles to their first-ever Conference USA West Division title last season. Southern Miss’ 10 wins last season were the second-most under El-Zare and trails only the 13 games his 2018 team won. El-Zare has twice taken the Golden Eagles to the C-USA title game, with the 2018 trip being the first in program history.

“Coach Mo has done a fantastic job of establishing a great culture and a foundation for success here at Southern Miss,” McClain said. “He has also been a positive influence to our entire department, and we are excited that he will be leading our program for years to come.”

In El-Zare’s first season, Southern Miss finished with the second-most wins since 2007 and the fewest losses since 2005. That 2013 team also cracked the top 10 in 18 team categories. In a COVID-shortened spring season, El-Zare took the Golden Eagles to the C-USA semifinal game before losing to eventual winners, Rice.

Ten Golden Eagles have earned All-Conference USA honors under El-Zare, including Illana Izquierdo (First Team), Ariel Diaz (First Team), Kendell Mindnich (Third Team), and Macie Penninton (Third Team) this past season. Izquierdo was also named the C-USA Freshman of the Year.

“First, I would like to thank the USM community, Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain for his support and faith in me, my fellow coaches, staff, our soccer student-athletes, and the entire Hattiesburg community for the opportunity to coach at such a great institution,” El-Zare said. “To our student-athletes, I love you - you are the reason I work so hard every day to help you become the best you can be. To our parents, please know that your children - my student-athletes - are my top priority and I will continue to do all I can to help them.

“Secondly, I can tell you about our success on the field over the past few years. The real success has been that of helping people grow as athletes and as women. I am so proud of that. All of this is because we, together, have worked to accomplish higher goals -- Academic, athletic, personal achievements.”

In every season under El-Zare, at least one Southern Miss soccer play has been named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll or has been names a C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medalist.

“Hattiesburg and USM are a large part of my family. Together, I know we can achieve more in the next few years. I look forward to doing that with the support of USM, Jeremy McClain, my supervisor Sonya Varnell, President Bennett, and of course, our student-athlete players and my outstanding staff of Carly Mauldin, Joao Paulo Valadares, Julie Butler, Matt Sykes, Todd McCallKylie AmatoEmma WarrenMadison Rayam, and Todd Hawkins,” El-Zare said. “Please know that lately, our family has been dealing with the sickness of my wife, as she is recovering from cancer. I ask that each of you please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she fights this battle. I thank each of you for understanding the hardship this has brought to her, and our family, and I trust that with God’s help and your help, she will recover.

“Finally, thank you for the contract extension. I have had a lot of interest from other schools as our program achieved higher results.  Rest assured, I am happy to be here with each of you. I am happy to be a Golden Eagle and grow our soccer program.”

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