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Grizzlies add former World Cup player to soccer staff

Sharolta Nonen has been hired as assistant women's soccer coach at Georgia Gwinnett College.

Sharolta Nonen has been hired as assistant women's soccer coach at Georgia Gwinnett College.

Former collegiate All-American Sharolta Nonen, a star member of the 1999 and 2003 Canadian World Cup teams, has been named assistant women’s soccer coach at Georgia Gwinnett College, Grizzlies head coach Domenic Martelli announced Monday.

Nonen is one of the most decorated former players in the game, twice being named to World Cup All-Tournament teams as a top defender and having played professionally in Europe.

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, she excelled on the collegiate stage in becoming the University of Nebraska’s first-ever three-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American (1996-99).

Her list of collegiate honors includes a first-team All-America selection as a senior, three first-team all-region selections, a Big 12 Conference Player of the Year award and three first-team all-conference selections as she helped the Huskers to 80 wins over four years.

From her position on defense, she tallied 35 assists in a school-record 93 games, capping her collegiate career by being named one of 25 Women of Distinction by the Nebraska Athletic Department in 2000. Nonen also had the distinction of being the first African American player in the history of Nebraska’s women’s soccer program.

While in college, she earned a place on the Canadian National Team for the 1999 World Cup, making her first international appearance just weeks before the tournament began. She went on to start all three matches and earned all-tournament team honors.

Following her collegiate career, she was drafted by the Atlanta Beat of the Women’s United Soccer Association prior to their inaugural season in 2001. She earned two All-Star distinctions and was the Defender of the Year for the WUSA in 2003.

After her time with the Beat, Nonen traveled to Denmark to play professionally and was once again recognized as a league All-Star.

She continued to play for the Canadian National Team, making 63 career international appearances and earning a spot once again on the 2003 World Cup team. There, she helped Canada to its best-ever result, a fourth-place finish that featured a win over world power China. Nonen again was named to the all-tournament team and a Top-4 defender in the event.

She returned to Atlanta during the 2007-08 season, becoming the first player/coach for the Atlanta Silverbacks semi-professional women’s team as the squad reached the national finals.

After 10 years playing at the professional and international levels, Nonen retired and turned her sights to coaching. Known locally as “Shay,” Nonen has five years of coaching experience in the Atlanta area.

She has worked with various local programs, mentoring young players from the Olympic Development Program and Region Premier League squads. She also volunteered previously with the GGC program for coach Martelli. Nonen holds a United States Soccer Federation Class C coaching license.

“Sharolta is an incredible addition to our coaching staff and our program,” Grizzlies head coach Domenic Martelli said. “Her experiences at the collegiate, professional and international levels are truly invaluable and we are excited to have her help our young women grow. I am thrilled to work with her, but I am even more excited for our student-athletes to have someone with her worldly experience working with us on the sideline, in coaching sessions and off the field.”

Nonen earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Nebraska in 2000. Fluent in French, Nonen enjoys reading and writing music. She resides in the Atlanta area.

“Sharolta’s defensive experience will help us greatly with the final side of the field,” Martelli added. “Additionally, her strong ties in the recruiting world will be pivotal, helping us make connections to our program internationally.”

The Grizzlies are set to kick off their second season Sunday, Aug. 25, facing Savannah College of Art & Design in Lawrenceville.