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Coaching Staff

Ciaran Traquair

  Head Coach
  Office Phone: (864) 231-2012

Ciaran Traquair was named women’s soccer head coach on March 8, 2014 as he begins his first season with the Trojans.

Traquair comes to the Upstate after spending two seasons at Wesleyan (Macon, Ga.) where he turned the program around in two seasons after a 0-19 year to the best season in 12 seasons at 9-9. Prior to the turnaround, Traquair brought in the largest recruiting class in the program’s history with 17 players, trying to bring stability to the program, as 10 players were named the postseason all-conference teams. While with Wesleyan, Traquair managed and organized “Kick ALS Night” where he helped collect over $1,700 this past year for the ALS Association of Georgia.

“We are thrilled to have Ciaran join the Trojan family,” Simpson said. “He is tremendously talented and brings a passion for the game and a commitment to student-athlete success. I look forward to the future growth of our women's soccer program under Ciaran's leadership.”

During his time at Wesleyan, Traquair was the Director of Girls Select at Central Georgia Soccer Association (CGSA) where he coordinated weekly training sessions for several teams within the club. While working with youth to high school players, Traquair worked with at summer and preseason camps preparing high school prospects for the college level.

“I’m very excited about the challenges ahead at Anderson University,” Traquair said. “I want to thank Nancy Simpson and the search committee for making me feel very welcomed when I visited. I felt the committee and I had the same vision for this program and this is a great opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to making an immediate impact at the Division II level and within the Southeast Region.”

Prior to his stint in Macon, Traquair spent three seasons at Young Harris where he was an assistant with the men’s soccer program. While with the Mountain Lions, Traquair was a major part in one of the top recruiting classes in Division II, as he saw his team reach as high as No. 1 in the country, according to the National Soccer Coaches of America Association (NSCAA). With YHC in transition into Division II, Traquair worked with the NCAA on the jump and worked with compliance to prepare the program for the move to the NCAA.

In 2008, the native of Coatbridge, Scotland joined the staff as an assistant at his alma mater, Shorter, a current member of Gulf South Conference located in Rome, Ga. Prior to Shorter’s move to Division II, the Hawks were a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) where he helped lead the team to an SSAC regular season championship and an NAIA National Ranking as high as 16th. While at Shorter, he helped organized pregame scouting reports and worked specifically with the goalkeepers.

Traquair began his collegiate coaching career at Young Harris in 2007, serving as the assistant women’s soccer coach in 2007. He spent two seasons with the women’s program, as his first stint with YHC was highlighted by a Georgia Junior College Athletic Association championship and a national ranking as high as No. 1.

Throughout his coaching career, Traquair has earned a NSCAA Premier Diploma, a NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, a NSCAA National Diploma and a Scottish Football Association – Early Touches E and D License. Also, he served as a select coach for the District Training Centre for Olympic Development Selection.

As a former collegiate player at Shorter, Traquair was named the team’s most valuable player in each of his final three seasons with the Hawks. As a two-year captain, Traquair was named to the All-SSAC first team following his senior season.

While as a student-athlete at Shorter, Traquair received his Bachelor of Business Administration in 2007, while later getting his master’s in the same field from Shorter in 2010.

After his time at the collegiate level, Traquair saw some time at the professional level as a member of Mississippi Brilla FC in 2008 and National Professional Soccer League’s Chattanooga FC in 2009 and 2010.

Traquair is married for Lakyn Newton Traquair, who was an All-American softball player at Shorter, and the couple is currently expecting their first child.

Samar Azem

Samar Azem

  Head Coach
  Office Phone: (864) 231-2012

Samar Azem is in her third season at the helm of the Trojan women's soccer program after being named head coach on Aug. 2, 2011.

In her second season at AU, Azem guided the Trojans to a 7-7-3 mark, and a 4-3-2 record in South Atlantic Conference play. Before postseason play, four players earned all-SAC honors, including Krystal Goss’ first team selection. Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Neipp earned her second-straight postseason accolade with a spot on the second team, as Summer Miller and Adrienne Lough joined the keeper on the squad. Lough went on to sign a professional contract with Taastrupt FC in Denmark.

Also in 2012, Azem was the head coach of 97 CESA Anderson and part of the SC ODP (Olympic Development Program) staff and 2000 girl's head coach. Later this year, Azem will work with the 95 CESA girl's team. In the offseason, Azem is in charge of the Samar Azem Anderson Soccer Academy, a successful women's soccer based camp on AU's campus, which brings in players from all across the country.

During her first season, Azem guided the Trojans to nine wins and a berth in the semifinals of the 2011 Food Lion South Atlantic Tournament, while earning a No. 8 ranking in the Southeast Region during the regular season. Boasting a strong defensive presence, Azem’s Trojans posted an impressive five-match South Atlantic Conference win streak in October. With their seventh shutout of the 2011 campaign coming in the non-conference win past Valdosta State, the Trojans set a new school record for clean sheets, eclipsing the previous record of six which was set in 2001 and equaled in 2003.

Making its first-ever appearance in the SAC Tournament semifinals, Anderson’s upset bid fell just shy as fifth-ranked and top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne held off the No. four seed Trojans, 2-0.

Under Azem’s tutelage, the Trojans saw Neipp earn First-Team All-SAC accolades and All-Tournament honors, with four other players earning second-team All-SAC honors, while Joelle Purinton was also named to the  All-SAC Tournament Team.

Azem worked with every facet of the women’s soccer programs at Presbyterian College, Mercer University and Brevard College, while focusing on working with the goalkeepers. During her stint with the Blue Hose, Azem helped guide PC to their most successful season during their transition to NCAA Division I, as the Blue Hose claimed five wins in 2010, with the PC net-minders earning five shutouts on the season and producing the strongest goals-against-average (1.99 GAA) by a PC team during the transition.    

“I want to thank Nancy Simpson for this wonderful opportunity to be a part of Anderson University and lead the women’s soccer program,” said Azem when she was hired. “Anderson is a great place with a unique and enriching environment. There is a great deal of energy and progress within the institution and athletic department for our program to continue developing within.”

While at Presbyterian, Azem took the lead in designing, creating and implementing PC’s first-ever winter camp and worked with supporters and community groups to raise funds for facility upgrades and to boost awareness in the community. 
Prior to arriving at Presbyterian, Azem served as the top assistant coach for two seasons at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. The Bears earned the program's first-ever regular- season Atlantic Sun Conference championship and posted their first regional ranking in school history during her first season on the bench, during which Azem guided the goalkeepers and was also heavily engaged with every area of the program. She coached and trained goalkeeper Jean Worts, whose goals-against-average ranked 11th in the nation among Division I goalkeepers, while the overall defense ranked sixth nationally.

During Azem’s tenure, Mercer players garnered league Defensive Player of the Year accolades, as well as Freshman of the Year honors and also earned a total of 11 all-conference awards.

Prior to joining the staff at Mercer, Azem served as an assistant coach at Brevard College, working with recruiting, team travel arrangements, scouting and game-day preparations. She also developed strength and conditioning programs for the Tornado players in addition to assisting in the compliance department.  

Azem brings extensive club and camp coaching experience to Anderson. While at Mercer, she trained goalkeepers at the Central Georgia Soccer Association and the Macon Soccer Club, two of Central Georgia’s largest soccer clubs. Azem has trained and evaluated young players at Carolina Elite Soccer Association and has also organized and overseen camp and clinic sessions with a number of top Georgia clubs in the Atlanta region.

During her collegiate playing career at Campbell University, Azem helped lead the Fighting Camels to the A-Sun conference regular-season and tournament championships in 2004 and the following season she was named to the all-Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Team for her performance in goal as she helped the Camels return to the conference tournament title match. Azem also garnered A-Sun all-academic recognition and earned the squad’s Coaches Award twice (2005-06).

The Jos, Nigeria, native competed at the Hillcrest School where she was a three-sport standout. During her final three years at Hillcrest, Azem was the team captain for the soccer, basketball and volleyball squads. She also earned the soccer team's MVP award in 2001 and was voted as the Senior Class President in 2003.

She has also been involved in community endeavors as she was part of the Mashiah Foundation. This foundation volunteered with the National Honor Society to create an HIV/AIDS awareness program for high schools across Northern Nigeria. Twelve high schools implemented the plan and over 1,000 guests attended the seminar.
Azem graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and a minor in psychology from Campbell in 2007 and earned her master’s degree in education from Mercer in 2010.

Coaching Career
2011-13 - Anderson
2010 – Presbyterian
2008-10 – Mercer
2007-08 – Brevard

Playing Career
2003-07 – Campbell University

Ally Bales

  Assistant Coach
  Office Phone: (864) 231-2012

Bales joins the coaching staff in 2013 after a year under Alex Van der Sluijs at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio where she helped guide the team to a 9-6-4 overall record. At Defiance, she wore two hats, one as the assistant women’s soccer coach and the other and the Learning Commons Assistant for Structured Study Programs where she assisted the school’s peer mentors and helped student-athletes away from the field and in the classroom. The New Berlin, Wisc. native also earned her master of arts in education with sport coaching concentration.

“We are excited to have Ally join our staff and our family,” Azem said. “She comes from a very strong playing career at Dallas Baptist and was incredibly successful as an athlete in the Heartland Conference. She understands what it takes to establish a perennially successful NCAA Division II program and is eager to help us build towards that. She’s very passionate about the game and a very hard worker. She will be involved in the various aspects of the program from the onset.”

As a player, Bales was a standout at Dallas Baptist University where she was named to the Heartland all-conference team in her first three seasons. Bales was also listed on the Daktrontics all-south central region team in 2010, while also earning spots on the NCCAA all-region team and All-American teams after the 2008 and 2010 seasons. Bales also excelled in the classroom, as she earned a spot on the Dean’s List in 2010 and made the Honor Roll in 2009. Bales graduated from Dallas Baptist with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology and minored in Spanish. She is a member of Sigma Delta Pi, a Spanish Honor Society.