A standout for the Red Storm from 2008-11, Jen Bethea (nee Leaverton) returned to the program as an assistant coach prior to the start of the 2015 season and immediately contributed to the greatest campaign in the history of St. John’s Women’s Soccer.
During her first year on the sideline at her alma mater, Bethea helped guide the Red Storm to a school record 15 wins and the first BIG EAST Regular Season title in program history. For her efforts, she was named the 2015 NSCAA Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year and shared BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year honors with her colleagues.
A prolific offensive force for the Red Storm during her playing days, Bethea currently ranks 10th on the St. John's all-time scoring list, having tallied 17 goals over the course of her career in Queens. She also ranks eighth on the school's all-time shots list with 140.
"As coaches, it is always fantastic for us to be able to bring one of our own former student-athletes back to be a part of the Coaching Staff," said St. John's Women's Soccer Head Coach Ian Stone upon Bethea’s return. "Jen was an outstanding player and leader for St. John's when she was here. She is somebody that really made the most of her ability on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. After three and a half successful years under the tutelage of an outstanding coach in Michele Canning [a former St. John's assistant] at New York University, it is my absolute pleasure to welcome Jen to our staff. I am excited to begin working with her as, I am sure, she will prove to be an exemplary role model for our current players by her drive and self-motivation."
Prior to her return, Bethea spent three seasons as an assistant coach at New York University, where she was tasked with the main responsibility of recruiting. The Violets recorded winning records in two of the three years that Leaverton was on staff, including an 11-6-2 mark in 2014, a season that saw NYU reach the NCAA Division III Tournament. For their efforts in 2014, Leaverton and her colleagues were recognized as the University Athletic Association (UAA) Coaching Staff of the Year.
Bethea holds two certifications from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America: an NSCAA Goalkeeping Certificate Level 1 and an NSCAA National Diploma.
Bethea's best season at St. John's came as a senior in 2011, when the Mansfield, Mass., native became only the sixth player in program history at the time to record double-digit goals in a single campaign, scoring 10 times. For her efforts, Bethea took home the Marianne Viscovich-Powderly Memorial Award as the team's most valuable player and won the John DaSilva Memorial Award from the athletic department for exhibiting courage and perseverance in the face of adversity. She was also named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team.
As a junior in 2010, Bethea played and started in all 18 games for the Red Storm, leading the team in both shots (38) and shots on goal (19). She also added one goal and one assist.
During her sophomore season in 2009, Bethea played a crucial role in helping the program reach its first-ever NCAA Tournament. She started 19 of 21 games for the Red Storm, ranking second on the team with three goals. She also led the team in shots with 33.
Bethea burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2008, leading the team in goals with three on the season. She was the only member of the freshman class to appear in all 19 games and made starts in eight of the squad's 11 BIG EAST contests.
A standout in the classroom as well during her collegiate days, Bethea was a member of the prestigious President's Society as an undergrad and was twice honored as an All-Region Scholar Athlete by the NSCAA. She was also a two-year member of the St. John's Student Athlete Advisory Committee and represented the University as its delegate to the BIG EAST SAAC for one year.