SAINT LEO, Fla. – In preparing for the 2009 season and a defense of their Sunshine State Conference Tournament title, Head Coach Ged O’Connor has announced the addition of Annie Hamel to his coaching staff.

Hamel comes to Saint Leo after concluding a professional playing career in the United Soccer League W-League where she played four years for both FC Indiana and the Ottawa Fury.  During her career in the USL she was a league finalist twice and a member of the US Open Cup Championship team in 2008 while with FC Indiana.

“Annie is a great addition to our coaching staff and will bring a high level of playing and coaching experience into the program,” O’Connor said. “She is a tremendous asset to our women’s soccer team as she will have an immediate impact in our tactics and play a role in our future recruiting.  Her international recruiting contacts will bring an added dimension to the program and that will us to continue our winning way.

Hamel’s entire collegiate playing career was spent in the far Northeastern part of the US as she was a member of the University of Maine’s women’s soccer team.  During her stint at the Division I school in Orono, Maine, Hamel was a First Team All-Conference member in both 2002 and 2003, while also taking home All-Northeast Region honors in 2003.  Her career also included a conference All-Rookie Team selection in 2000.

She replaces former assistant Tommy Poston who served in a similar capacity with the Lions for two seasons.  After a stellar SLU playing and coaching career, Poston earned his Master’s Degree from Saint Leo last spring and left to pursue other job opportunities.

After graduating in 2004, Hamel moved into the coaching ranks as she assumed a graduate assistant role at her Alma Mater.  After spending a year with the Black Bears, Hamel would focus on her playing career and would not take another coaching role until October of 2006 when she was named the head coach of the Ottawa Fury Under-20 W-League team.  Her final instructional stint prior to SLU came with the North Shore Soccer Development Center in October of 2007.  She helped with the U-12 player development and also helped to observe, asses and assist new coaches.

A native of Magog, Quebec, Hamel is a French-Canadian who is fluent is both English and French.  She will look to use her bilingual abilities to help expand the Saint Leo Women’s Soccer recruiting base to the non-English-speaking parts of Canada and internationally.

The addition of Hamel completes the Lions coaching staff for the 2009 campaign as she will join O’Connor and volunteer-assistant coach Randy Bell to guide the Lions.