A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Michael Dias grew up in the shadows of Western New England University and emerged into one of the top soccer players in Western Massachusetts history. Michael was a star soccer player at nearby Cathedral High School where he led the Panthers to a 20-1 record and a #2 national ranking in his senior season and garnered All-Western Mass, All-State, and All-New England honors.
Michael continued his stellar soccer career at the University of Vermont where he graduated with a degree in Education. He captained the Catamounts to two conference titles in 1998 and 2001 and one NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001. He was a two-time All-Conference selection, Conference MVP, and was named a NSCAA Regional First-Team All-American.
Dias went on to a successful professional career playing for several A-League and PDL clubs including the Western Mass Pioneers, Boston Bulldogs, Connecticut Wolves, and Vermont Voltage. He also served as a camp director for several of the professional clubs he played for.
He joined his father Ron Dias (WNE Women’s Coach since 1994) on the sidelines as an assistant coach in 2003 and also served as an assistant coach at the University of Vermont for one season. Michael lives in Eliot, Maine with his wife Louise and his sons Aidan and Sebastian.
Former Western New England University women’s soccer captain and 2015 Downes Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Kristin (Thornton) Hensinger ’07 was named the seventh head coach in program history on August 9, 2016.
Hensinger took charge of the program ahead of the 2016 campaign after serving on fellow Hall-of-Famer Ron Dias’ staff for nine seasons. The Bedford, N.H. native led the Golden Bears to a 6-11-3 record and an appearance in the CCC Tournament during her first season as head coach.
Hensinger was a four-year midfielder for Western New England from 2003-06 and one of the top players in school history. As a senior, she led the Golden Bears to an 11-8-2 record and a berth in the NCAA Division III Championship. She was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament after leading WNE to the team title.
Hensinger led the team in scoring with 23 points on six goals and 11 assists in making the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA) Division III Team. She also was a four-time All-GNAC performer.
Hensinger earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western New England before going on to receive her master’s degree, also in psychology, from Springfield College in May 2009.