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Debbie Belkin

(1966 - )

Debbie Belkin, whose married name is Debbie Belkin-Rademacher, is currently the head coach of the women's soccer team at the University of Michigan. A three-time All-America at the University of Massachusetts (1985-87), Belkin played on the U.S. Women's National team from 1986-1992. In 2000, Soccer America named her to the Women's College Soccer Team of the Century. She is a member of the Massachusetts State Hall of Fame and a member of the University of Massachusetts Athletic Hall of Fame.

An outstanding soccer player as a defender in the 1980s and early 1990s, Belkin was a three-time All-America at the University of Massachusetts, class of 1988, and led the team to four consecutive Final Four appearances. Named All-New England from 1985-1987, Belkin helped the Minutewomen achieve a No. 1 ranking during the 1986 season and led them to the NCAA championship game in 1987, where they lost to North Carolina, 1-0. Named the Defensive MVP of the 1987 Final Four, Belkin also received honors from Soccer America, who named her to its MVP teams in 1986 and 1987, and to the All-Decade team (1980s).

Over Belkin's four-year career at UMass, the Minutewomen had an overall record of 65-9-4. In 1986, during her junior season at Massachusetts, Belkin joined the U.S. National Team. For the next six years, she was a mainstay on the squad, and was a key member of the 1991 U.S. gold medal team in the inaugural FIFA Women's World Championships. During her international career, Belkin registered 50 caps (appearances) and scored two goals. In August 2001, the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame awarded the 1991 U.S. Women's World Cup champions (with Belkin as a member), the prestigious National Soccer Medal of Honor.

In 1992, Belkin became the head coach at Fairfield University after serving as an assistant at Tufts (1988-89), and New Hampshire (1989-91). After an record of 6-8-1 in her first season, Belkin led Fairfield to a 12-4-3 record and the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) regular season and tournament championship in 1992 as she was named MAAC Coach of the Year. The following year, Belkin became the head coach at the University of Michigan in the school's inaugural season of women's soccer. That first year, she led the Wolverines to a 10-7-2 record (1-6-0, seventh place in the Big Ten).

Following an eighth place finish in 1995 and a fourth place finish in 1996, Belkin led Michigan to a second place regular season finish in 1997. They then won the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament. Belkin was named Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year that year. Michigan has played in the NCAA tournament every year since 1997, won the Big Ten tournament for a second time in 1999, and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2002.

In 2003, the Wolverines finished fourth in the Big Ten and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament. They finished the season ranked No. 16 in the country. Through the 2003 season, Belkin had a career coaching record of 147-86-23 and was 129-74-19 at Michigan.

Source: Jews in Sports.

Photo courtesy University of Michigan Athletics.