The new soccer coach for the University of Florida is leaving under pressure after its worst-ever season, the school said Wednesday. The decision came amid unprecedented numbers of players leaving the program after his hiring and complaints by athletes who said he pressured them about eating habits and their bodies. (Jessica James/WUFT News)

Anthony Amato Named New Head Coach For Florida Gators Soccer Team


After developing an 18-year track record of returning soccer programs to the postseason, Anthony Amato landed a position this week as the head coach for the University of Florida’s soccer team. 

Athletic Director Scott Stricklin announced Monday that Amato would be the new leader for the Gators soccer program. 

Stricklin explained that while Florida doesn’t hire new head coaches often, he could not ignore the places Amato has been. 

During his time as a coach for the Arizona Wildcats, he led the team to their first winning season in seven campaigns and earned an NCAA Tournament berth in his second season while coaching. 

Several program firsts were accomplished under Amato during his time at Rollins College, like leading the team to the Sunshine State Conference champions in 2008 and 2009. 

Aside from his accomplishments, Stricklin explained that the overwhelming support from his former athletes, colleagues and bosses was another reason that led to his hire. 

During a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, Amato explained that the elite institution and athletic department is what drew him to UF. Amato will be replacing long-time coach Becky Burleigh. Burleigh and Amato are the only two coaches in the Gator soccer program’s history.

 “It’s definitely big shoes to fill…but I will do my best to build off of everything she’s done,” Amato said. 

About Jessica James

Jessica is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

Check Also

Master Ong imparts the tradition of taekwondo at Ocala school

Ong’s Taekwondo Academy has been in Ocala since 2006 teaching the martial art to students from 3 years old to adults.