KANSAS CITY, Mo. – United Soccer Coaches announced Wednesday that it had hired Patricia “Trish” Hughes as its new college programs officer.

She will officially start on March 8. She is taking the place of Rob Kehoe who is retiring after 12 years in the role.

The college programs officer serves as the advocate for the association’s college members and the college game with the NCAA and other college soccer governance bodies. It is also the liaison for college soccer coaches to organizations including US Soccer, MLS, NWSL, NCAA committees and represents United Soccer Coaches on the Intercollegiate Coaches Association Coalition.

“We are very excited to welcome Trish to this important role,” United Soccer Coaches CEO Lynn Berling-Manuel said in a statement. “This is a crucial position for our association’s advocacy for college soccer and Trish’s wide ranging background in college athletics really gives her a full toolbox to draw from.” The position reports directly to the CEO.

Hughes was selected from an initial pool of more than 140 applicants that were reviewed by a search and screening committee chaired by former University of Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore. It was composed of a diverse group of college coaches that represented all divisions and both genders. The committee distilled it down to a final four candidates that were then vetted by senior staff and Berling-Manuel who made the final selection.

“I am thrilled to join the United Soccer Coaches team as the College Programs Officer and grateful for this opportunity to lead, serve and represent our college coach members,” Hughes said. “This opportunity positions me to draw from all my soccer experiences as a student athlete, college coach and administrator to serve the association and its stakeholders moving forward with dedication, and commitment. I am excited to get to work, advocate and build an inclusive culture that represents college coaches at every level.”

Hughes takes position after three and half years as athletic director of Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C. During her successful tenure at Salem, she led multiple community initiatives, developed a college-wide NCAA compliance education program, and implemented and monitored Title IX training strategies plans and processes.

Her career path has included not only athletic administration at Salem, the University of New Haven and the University of Montevallo, but a wide variety of NCAA committees and projects, head soccer coach roles at the University of Montevallo and Belmont University, assistant coach at Auburn University and a stint as director of operations for a large youth soccer club. She also had a playing career, which included college and appearances for the Ireland women’s national team.