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CHARLOTTESVILLEMichael Behonick has been named assistant coach and Matt Chulis has been elevated to associate head coach, Virginia head men’s soccer coach George Gelnovatch announced Friday (April 30).

Behonick comes to UVa after playing professional soccer with the Puerto Rico Islanders of the United Soccer Leagues (USL 1) since 2007 and serving as the Islanders’ Academy assistant goalkeeper coach in 2009. His coaching experience also includes serving as the Director of Goalkeeping for the Syosset Soccer Club (Syosset, N.Y.) from 2006-08 and as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, American University, in 2003.

“I’m thankful to Coach Gelnovatch for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his staff,” Behonick said. “This program is not only coming off of an NCAA Championship, it also has a rich soccer tradition. I’m excited to be part of it all.”

Behonick has been a member of the Puerto Rico National Team since 2008 and has also played professionally for Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL 2, 2007), the New York Red Bulls (Major League Soccer, 2006), Charleston Battery (USL 1, 2003-05), Harrisburg City Islanders (USL 2, 2004) and DC United (MLS SuperDraft Pick).

He was a goalkeeper at American from 1999-2002, posting 16 shutouts and earning second team All-Patriot League honors as a junior. Behonick was the Eagles’ captain in 2001 and 2002, and in those years American made NCAA Tournament appearances. Behonick’s 2001 AU squad was the Patriot League Champions.

He earned his bachelor of arts in business administration from American in 2003.

“I knew Mike as a prospect coming out of high school, and then he was a very good goalkeeper for American University who went on to play professionally in both the MLS and USL,” Gelnovatch said. “When his playing career was ending, this opportunity came up and the timing was right. He was my first choice to step into this coaching position and he fits in well with our program.”

Chulis has been an assistant coach under Gelnovatch for four seasons, and 2010 will be his first as the associate head coach. Prior to joining the UVa staff, Chulis spent several years playing professionally. He played for the Long Island Rough Riders in 2005 after spending three seasons (2002-04) in the USL playing for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Portland Timbers (2001).

“I’m ecstatic and I want to thank George Gelnovatch for this opportunity and for having confidence in my ability,” Chulis said. “I went to school at Virginia and I love being part of the University and the soccer program. Becoming associate head coach is an honor.”

Chulis spent time in Major League Soccer playing for the Columbus Crew (1999-00) and the Chicago Fire (2001). Off the field, he served as the Super Y League Director for the Rough Riders last season. Chulis was a student assistant coach at Virginia while finishing up his bachelor’s degree in sociology during the 2004-05 academic year. He holds his USSF “A” coaching license and USSF national youth license.

One of the most decorated Cavalier defenders in school history, Chulis played four seasons for Virginia (1995-98). He was a three-time NSCAA All-American and three-time All-ACC first-team selection. Chulis was named NSCAA National Defender of the Year in 1998. He led the Cavaliers to 32 shutouts in four seasons. Chulis started 93 games and played 8,483 career minutes.

“Matt was a player in our program for four years, and when we had an opening for an assistant coach in 2006, he was the first person that came to my mind,” Gelnovatch said. “Since then, he has been a terrific asset to the program. He is a great recruiter who works hard and has an excellent understanding of the game. He is ready to take over more responsibilities in his new position of associate head coach.”

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