PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan native played a crucial role in coaching the U.S. women’s soccer team to victory at the 2019 World Cup.
B.J. Snow was an All-American soccer player at Portage Central High School before playing at Indiana University, where he won two national championships. After college, he returned to Michigan to start his career as the Portage Central head coach.
Now, he is the director of player identification and development for the U.S. Women’s National Team and the head coach of the women’s under-23 national team. He also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. women’s team when they won the World Cup Sunday in France.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Snow told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday in a video call from New York. “It was a remarkable journey when you’re having to play such quality teams.”
“It’s been so emotional to be a part of a journey like this because of all the work,” he continued. “We’re putting in 18, 20 hour days for 45 days straight. We’re not getting a lot of sleep.”
Snow was overwhelmed with the warm welcome the team received when they arrived back in the states Monday after being in Europe for two months. He said that after the celebrations in France ended, it was a quick trip home.
“We got a couple hours sleep and then it was on to the plane,” Snow said. “We had a wonderful salute to us when we arrived in New York.”
It was Snow’s second World Cup win as an assistant coach. He said each one is different and the support from his hometown has made it even more special.
“To get the text messages and emails and phone calls from everybody back in West Michigan has been a real rewarding part of this experience,” Snow said.
He credits much of his success as a coach to the foundation he built playing soccer in West Michigan.
“It’s remarkable the tradition that a community like Kalamazoo has and West Michigan in general. There’s a rich soccer tradition there and tremendous players and coaches that have come out of that area. I think that was where my passion was ignited by all of those people,” Snow said.
Snow will take part in the victory parade for the team Wednesday morning in New York City.