CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia women’s soccer head coach Steve Swanson announced the addition of Sam Raper to the staff as an assistant coach on Thursday (April 7).
“We are extremely excited that Sam Raper has agreed to join our staff here at Virginia,” Swanson said. “He is a perfect fit for our program both on and off the field and we cannot wait to have him, and his wife Shelby join us in Charlottesville. Sam brings a wealth of coaching experience with him, especially in terms of training goalkeepers and different positional groups. He also has a broad background working with a variety of video, scouting and data analysis technologies that are an important part of the modern game. More than anything though, it is his character and values as a person that really stood out in the hiring process. He is a great fit for the University, the athletic department, our staff and most importantly, our players and we could not be more excited to have him join our family.”
Raper brings a diverse background with him to Virginia and has most recently worked as an assistant coach for the U.S. U-15 and U.S. U-17 Women’s Youth National Teams. He will serve as goalkeeper coach for the U-17s as the team prepares for the upcoming Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship in the Dominican Republic later this month. The team is seeking a berth in the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup later this year. His duties consist of analysis of training and matches while planning and delivering goalkeeper trainings, presentations and evaluations, as well as tracking the individual developmental plans for all the goalkeepers.
In addition to his work with U.S. Soccer, Raper served at Wingate University as an assistant coach for the men’s program since 2018. He also served as an assistant for the women’s program from 2017 through the 2019 seasons and was recently named the interim head coach of the women’s program. In his time with the Bulldogs, he coached United Soccer Coaches All-Region and All-South Athletic Conference honoree Abbey Frail on the women’s side, and USL League one player Pablo Jara, USL League One player Jamie Boegel and current All-SAC selection Jens Bergendorff on the men’s side.
In his tenure, Wingate’s men’s team claimed back-to-back South Atlantic Conference Tournament Championships in 2019 and 2020 and posted 29 shutouts. The women’s team posted 23 shutouts under his tutelage and advanced to the championship game of the South Atlantic Conference Tournament twice. Each program has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in his time on staff.
He also has served as the Director of Goalkeepers for the Wingate International Soccer Academy since August of 2017.