Jul 18, 2012 4:12 PM by Q2 Sports
Billings - Montana State Billings head women's soccer coach Wojtek Krakowiak announced Wednesday the addition of assistant coach Eric Lona. A Carlsbad, Calif., native Lona comes to MSUB's soccer program with a diverse and accomplished coaching background.
"Eric is a great hire for our university, athletic department and especially our women's soccer program," stated Krakowiak. "He brings a lot of coaching experience and is a very passionate and driven individual. I am really looking forward to working with Eric and continuing our success in the program."
Lona graduated with a bachelor's degree in Sports Management from High Point University located in High Point, N.C. in 2003 and has been coaching soccer ever since.
He first began honing his coaching skills as the Director of Goalkeeping for the Tri-County Football Club (North Carolina). This progressed into a head coach position in 2004 where Lona took command of the Carlsbad Lightning soccer club which consisted of various girls team ranging from U10-U-17.
Most recently, he coached the GU14 and GU16 Carlsbad Elite teams which are part of the Carlsbad Lightning Soccer Club. His GU16 Elite team has been ranked as high as No. 4 in Cal South, No. 4 in Region IV and No. 16 in the nation.
Lona has been awarded several accolades in his club coaching career including: 2004 Lightning Rookie Coach of the Year, 2006 Lightning Girls Coach of the Year, 2006 and 2007 Presidio League Champions and 2007 Lightning Coach of the Year-Girls College Division, as well as 2011 Coast Soccer League Premier Champions.
Extending past his club coaching experience, Lona has been extensively involved in the Olympic Development Program. From 2007 until present he has held several titles throughout his tenure. Lona was the head goal keeper coach for the boys' Cal-South team and the assistant coach for the '95,'96 and '99 girls Cal-South state teams. Lona was the head boys' goalkeeper coach from 2007-12 and was an assistant coach for the '95, '96 and '99 girls as well as the '00 boys' Cal-South state ODP teams.
As an assistant coach under John Napier, Lona won the 2012 Region IV and ODP National Championship with his '96 girls Cal-South team. He also won the Region IV Championship in 2010 and 2011 and was the 2011 ODP National Runner Up with his '95 girls Cal-South ODP State team.
His high school experience ranges from the head coach of the girls' junior varsity team at Carlsbad High School (Calif.) to the head coach of the girls' varsity teams at San Marcos High School (Calif.) and La Costa Canyon High School (Calif.).
While at San Marcos, Lona led his 2011 team to the first undefeated league record in school history and an Avocado East League Championship. Under Lona, La Costa won the 2011 Excalibur tournament and became the 2012 San Diego CIF Division II champions. They also received a No. 6 national ranking from Powerade Fab 50 and a No. 10 national ranking in Max Preps.
Prior to coaching, Lona also had a successful playing career. He was a regular member of the Cal-South ODP team and a four year starter at High Point University where he received Big South All-Tournament team honors in 2001 and 2002, and Big South All-Academic team honors 1999-2002. As a goal keeper he is the active single season and all-time career record holder in saves, shutouts, saves per game and wins.
After High Point, he was selected to go on trials with Aalborg BK of the Danish SAS Ligaen Champions League. Also he was a member of the 2005 and 2006 Galaxy Classico Championship teams. While playing in the Premier Arena Soccer League, Lona was a member of the San Diego Fusion 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2010-2011 Southwest Division Champion teams.
Lona is CPR certified and also holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National "C" License.