Peter Yazvac
UNK Sports Information director, (w) 308.865.8334 OR (c) 308.627.6878 or

Nebraska-Kearney Athletic Director Jon McBride announced today that John Maessner (pronounced mice-ner) has been named the Lopers’ interim head women’s soccer coach.

A New Jersey native and graduate of the University of Virginia, Maessner replaces Mike Munch, who retired from college coaching this summer.

“We are very fortunate to have found someone with such an extensive and varied soccer background to lead our program into the future,” McBride said. “He loves soccer and excels at teaching the sport.”

Maessner, who lives in Broken Bow with his family, comes to UNK after a decorated playing career as well as successful coaching stints at his alma mater, D.C. United of Major League Soccer and over the past two seasons assisting with the Kearney High School girls’ program. He also holds the USSF A coaching license and the USSF youth license.

“I’m very excited to be joining the UNK family as the Head Women’s Soccer Coach. I look forward to working with the University to continue moving the soccer program in the right direction,” said Maessner, who retired as a professional player in 2001.  “I know Coach Munch has done a great job setting a strong foundation and hope to build on what has been done so far. I’d like to thank the University, Jon McBride and Jaime Lundgren for giving me the opportunity to lead the Loper soccer program and will do everything in my power to help our team be successful both on and off the field.”

Prior to moving to Nebraska, he served as the Director of Youth Development for D.C. United of Major League Soccer (MLS).

In three-and-a-half years, Maessner was part of a program that led the nation in academy players called up to the national team as well as placing players at NCAA Division I schools. He also led academy teams to two U17 MLS Cups in 2007 and 2009.  Finally, Maessner was instrumental in developing academy player Andy Najar, the 2010 MLS’s Rookie of the Year and the youngest athlete ever to be named a rookie of the year in any American professional sport.

From 2002-03, he was Development Director and Fundraiser for the Soccer Organization of Charlottesville-Albermarle (SOCA) in Virginia and served as an assistant with the Cavalier men’s team.

On the pitch, Maessner was a forward and midfielder who played on three different MLS teams from 1996-01, helping the United win the MLS Cup in 1996, 1997 and 1999. From 1991-96 he played for pro teams in Germany and France, Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), the American Professional Soccer League (APSL) and the United Systems of Independent Soccer League (USISL).

As an amateur, Maessner helped the Cavaliers win the 1989 NCAA Championship. A 1987 Parade High School All-American, he played in the 1991 World University Games with Team USA and scored the game tying goal in the 1994 FIFA World All-Star game in front of 100,000 fans in Morocco.

At a later time in the fall, a search will be conducted to fill the position on a permanent basis.

UNK begins the 2012 season Aug. 31 at Southwest Minnesota State. The first home game is slated for Sept. 5 against Midland U.