Rebels Host Alabama State Friday (7 p.m.), Northwestern State Sunday (7 p.m.)
Spring Exhibition Prepares Rebels For Exciting 2015 Campaign
Goalkeeper Coach Vital Component To Ole Miss Success In Mott Era
Rebels Welcome Veteran Defense Back For 2014 Campaign
Third Year Head Coach Continues To Build Rebel Program
Rob Thompson, a pivotal member of Ole Miss’ success in recent history, has served alongside Mott in all eight seasons in charge of goalkeepers and was promoted to the position of Associate Head Coach following the 2014 season.
The Ole Miss defense proved to by stingy in 2017, especially during the non-conference schedule. The Rebels completed the fifth undefeated non-league slate in program history, allowing a single goal on the way to a 7-0-1 record. In total, the Rebels surrendered 23 goals, including eight shutouts on the season. Following the regular season, Ole Miss earned its third bid to the NCAA Championships in the last five seasons.
Thompson's goalkeepers produced solid numbers in 2017, with Marnie Merritt posting a 1.18 goals against average in 19 starts, posting six solo shutouts. Merritt made 65 saves on the season, including a career-high 10 stops at Texas A&M. Claire Williams played 121:07 without allowing a single score in relief of Merritt, including a clean sheet in her first-career start to open the season.
In his seventh year in 2016, Thompson helped the Rebels to nine wins, four of which were shutouts, qualifying for the SEC Tournament for the 17th time in school history. Thompson also assisted Ole Miss’ freshmen class of seven players through their first year of collegiate play, which resulted in 52 combined starts from the group.
Thompson helped guide the Rebels to their first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in program history in 2015. Under the assistance of Thompson, Ole Miss surged to a national ranking of No. 12 midway through the year, its highest rank in school history. The Rebels also closed the book on the season as the No. 16 team in the nation in the postseason poll, the best finish in the history of the program.
Thompson’s teachings were apparent in 2015 as the Rebels pitched nine shutouts, including two versus top-10 teams in No. 10 Auburn and No. 10 South Carolina.
Merritt, who made her collegiate debut in the 2015 campaign, made it a good one under Thompson’s direction. Thompson’s instructions paid off as Merritt totaled seven individual shutouts, fourth-most in a single season in school history.
She tallied 93 saves, which were also the fourth-most in any Rebel season, and ranks in the top-10 in career goals against average, saves, wins and shutouts after two seasons of play.
The 2013 season saw the Rebel defense help Ole Miss to a record-setting 16 wins that included 10 shutout victories behind the play of junior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick. The keeper became the winningest goalkeeper in program history, 34 victories for her career under the tutelage of Thompson.
In the 2012 season, McCormick helped the Rebels post eight shutout victories, including a stretch of four-consecutive shutouts as Ole Miss rolled to an 8-0 start to set the best start to a season in program history. In that stretch of shutouts, the McCormick and the Rebels played 483 minutes of shutout soccer, setting a new school record.
McCormick twice won SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors, helping the Rebels advance to the SEC Tournament for the 14th time in school history and the quarterfinals of the 2013 SEC Tournament with a shutout win over LSU in the opening round of the annual event.
In 2011, goalkeepers Alley Ronaldi and McCormick recorded a combined seven shutouts as the team finished the year 8-10-1 overall (4-7 SEC). Ronaldi was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on August 29. Ole Miss opened the year holding its opponents scoreless for the first 455 minutes of the season, marking the longest scoreless streak in program history.
During 2010, Thompson helped Ole Miss to a 7-9-4 overall record and a 3-5-3 record in SEC play. His goalkeepers, Sarah Story and Alley Ronaldi, recorded a combined six shutouts on the year. In addition, Story set program records for saves in a game (17) and in a season (109).
Thompson brings high-level experience in training goalkeepers to the Rebel program. Following a two-year hiatus from college coaching for family reasons, he came back to the SEC, where he was an assistant at Georgia from 2005-08.
While in Athens, he helped lead the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003 and just their second appearance in the SEC Tournament championship game. Georgia went 40-19-4 during his three seasons, and he helped develop goalkeeper Michelle Betos into an SEC All-Freshman pick who would go on to rank among the all-time school and conference leaders in shutouts and saves.
Thompson was an assistant at Florida State for two seasons, where he helped the Seminoles reach back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, including the 2003 College Cup Semifinals. He trained goalkeeper Joy McKenzie to All-ACC and All-Region status, while she broke several school records along the way.
A native of Grimbsy, England, his extensive experience as a goalkeeper coach on the professional and collegiate levels also includes the WUSA's New York Power (2002-03), Adelphi University men (2001-02), the A-League's Long Island Rough Riders (1998-01) and Lock Haven University men and women (1995-98).
He has also been a member of the ODP Region III coaching staff since 2003.
Thompson holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Lock Haven University (Pa.), where he was a three-time all-conference and two-time all-region player in soccer. He is married to the former April Murphy of Tulsa, Okla., and the couple has two sons, Michael (8) and Liam (2).
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