One of IUP’s most decorated coaches announced that he is stepping away from the pitch earlier today.

In a news release, it was announced that women’s soccer head coach Adel Heder announced his retirement from coaching after 20 years at the helm of the program.

While at IUP, Heder led the Crimson Hawks to a combined 220-139-24 record – a .606 win percentage – along with two regular season championships, a PSAC conference championship and three appearances in the NCAA tournament. He was also named PSAC Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2006

Heder thanked the university for giving him the opportunity to coach there and for believing in him. He adds that, while he will miss building the program, it was his time to step away.

IUP Athletic Director Todd Garzarelli thanked Heder in the release, saying he “left an incredible mark here,” and that Heder’s impact is not only felt at IUP, but that it also reaches the soccer community throughout the conference and all levels in Western Pennsylvania . ”

Before taking over at IUP, Heder coached boys’ varsity soccer at Kiski Area High School.

Below is the full story on Heder’s retirement (IUP Athletics):

INDIANA, Pa. – Adel Heder, the winningest coach in IUP women’s soccer history, announced his retirement from coaching today. Heder has served as the head coach in Indiana since 2001, accumulating an overall record of 220-139-24 (.606) with two regular season division titles, a conference tournament championship, and three NCAA tournament appearances.

“I am announcing my retirement after 20 seasons at IUP,” said Heder. “I would like to thank IUP for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to coach here. I believe we built a very competitive soccer program not only within the PSAC, but also the region. I am incredibly proud of all my players – not only what they accomplished on the field, but also their successes in the classroom and in life. I will miss all of them tremendously and I thank them for everything they have given me and taught me over the years. I will miss the recruiting, building our program, and the competition. But it is my time to step away. ”

“I want to thank Coach Heder for all he has done for the IUP women’s soccer program,” said IUP Athletic Director Todd Garzarelli. “Adel left an indelible mark here and his contributions to the soccer program and our athletic department, as well as his service to his student-athletes, will not be forgotten. His impact has not only been felt here at IUP, but reaches the soccer community throughout the conference and all levels in Western Pennsylvania. We are extremely proud of Adel and all of his accomplishments. ”

Heder left a huge mark on IUP women’s soccer, leading the program for 20 of its 27 seasons of existence. Heder coached IUP to a PSAC championship in 2004, and led the program to conference tournament title matches in both 2006 and 2008. He won at least 10 matches in a season 11 times during his tenure, guided IUP to three NCAA tournaments (2004, 2006 , 2009), and was named the PSAC Coach of the Year on two occasions (2004, 2006). Heder also led IUP to PSAC Western Division regular season titles in back-to-back seasons (2005-06) with a combined 17-2-1 (.875) divisional record.

In 20 seasons, Heder coached 77 total PSAC postseason honorees, including 32 first team selections, 31 second team selections, 10 third team selections, three Freshman of the Year honorees, and one Player of the Year. In addition, 10 players since 2007 have earned All-Atlantic Region recognition.

Heder arrived in August 2001 and immediately made a statement. He took a team that finished 7-10 a season before and led the then-Indians to a 12-4-1 record and PSAC tournament berth, earning the first of two region coach of the year honors. Four seasons later IUP posted its best season with a 19-4 overall record, a PSAC title, the program’s first ever NCAA Division II tournament appearance, and a No. 24 national ranking at the conclusion of the season.

The following year Heder and IUP spent a majority of the season in the top-25, reaching as high as No. 8, posted a record 9-match win streak, and won its first PSAC regular season title. He finished his IUP tenure guiding the program to 14 PSAC tournament appearances, including a 9-year run from 2004-12.

He’s coached three players who would go to be inducted into the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame, including Erin Falce (2003-06), Tia Kipp (1999-2002), and Sarah Romasco (2006-09).

Prior to IUP, Heder ran the soccer program and served as a boy’s varsity coach at Kiski Area High School from 1987-2001. During his stint at Kiski, Heder led the team to a WPIAL Class AAA Top 10 ranking in 1996, and he was selected Section V Coach of the Year in both 1993 and 1996. In addition to his work at Kiski, Heder was the head coach of the Pennsylvania West Olympic Development program and the head coach and coordinator of the state select Pittsburgh Strikers Soccer Club. In the latter capacity, he developed under-18, under-16 and under-13 squads and helped direct the team to several local, statewide and regional championships.

Heder was honored for his contributions to the sport in2 019, earning induction to the 2019 Pennsylvania West Soccer Youth Hall of Fame.

Heder earned his master’s degree in health and physical education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1984. Heder’s daughter, Crystal, played on the IUP soccer team from 2003-06, and daughter Viann finished her senior season with the Crimson Hawks in 2011.

For up-to-date information, visit and follow IUP women’s soccer on Twitter @IUPCrimsonHawk and @IUPsoccer.


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