Diego Bocanegra was announced the University of Houston's fifth Women's Soccer head coach on Dec. 5, 2016. An Upland, Calif., native, Bocanegra (pronounced boh-kuh-NEG-ruh) came to Houston from Notre Dame, where he spent three seasons as an assistant coach for the 2016 ACC regular-season champions and helped lead the Fighting Irish to a No. 9 national ranking heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Bocanegra closed out his debut season at Houston with a 7-9-1 record, highlighted by a program-best three American Athletic Conference wins.
In his first season at the helm of the program, Bocanegra helped cultivate two American Athletic Conference postseason award winners in Selena Peters, an All-American Second Team Selection and Jazmin Grant who earned All-Rookie team honors. Under his direction Houston also earned its first CoSIDA Academic All-American in Hannah Dauzat.
In less than one year at the helm of the Houston Soccer team, Bocanegra revamped the Houston offense. The Cougars posted 29 goals and 23 assists during the 2017 season, for the most goals scored by the offense since 2010 and the most assists since 2010. On the offensive end, the Cougars posted 111 saves and three shutouts during their 2017 campaign.
Bocanegra came to Houston with a resume that speaks for itself, with an overall coaching record of 41-23-9 and 20 seasons of coaching experience.
During his time at South Bend, Bocanegra helped lead the program to the 2016 ACC regular-season title as the Fighting Irish finished their conference season with a record of 7-1-2, part of an overall record of 13-3-5. Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the three seasons with Bocanegra on staff, compiling a 3-3 record in the Tournament while running a record of 41-14-8 in his three seasons, including a mark of 20-7-3 in the ACC.
With Bocanegra on the Notre Dame staff, 15 players earned All-ACC selections and two were selected in the NWSL College Draft. Three players from the 2016 Notre Dame program represented their respective teams in the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Sabrina Flores and Natalie Jacobs on the United States roster and Monica Flores on the Mexico roster.
Bocanegra joined the Notre Dame coaching staff in 2014, bringing with him 16 seasons of previous coaching experience. Prior to joining the Notre Dame program, he spent five seasons (2009-13) as assistant and associate head coach/recruiting coordinator at Cal State Fullerton. In addition to player development, Bocanegra also focused on recruiting, game scouting and assisting with the program's successful summer camps.
While at Fullerton, Bocanegra helped the Titans to the 2012 Big West Conference regular-season title and the 2013 Big West Tournament championship, the latter bringing with it a spot in the NCAA Championship.
During his tenure at Fullerton, Bocanegra helped develop four Titans, who earned five NSCAA All-Region citations, as well as 16 players combining for 21 all-conference awards, led by 2013 Big West Midfielder of the Year Erica Mazeau. For his efforts, Bocanegra was named the 2012 NSCAA Far West Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
Prior to his time at Fullerton, Bocanegra spent two seasons as head coach at Cal State San Bernardino, leading the NCAA Division II program to 18 wins (including a 10-5-5 record and nearly an NCAA Championship berth in 2008) after the Coyotes had recorded 14 combined wins in the three seasons before his arrival. He coached two NSCAA All-Region selections and seven all-conference picks during his time with the Coyotes.
Bocanegra ascended to the top post at San Bernardino after two seasons as an assistant coach with the school's men's and women's programs. He began his coaching career as an assistant men's coach at Pomona-Pitzer (1998-2000) and UC Riverside (2001-04).
Bocanegra enjoyed a successful college playing career in the mid-1990s, beginning with two seasons at Grand Canyon University (1993-94; all-conference in '94) before one season and a redshirt year (1995-96) at UCLA, where he played for Sigi Schmid, the former coach of Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC, and ultimately concluding at Fresno State in 1997.
Bocanegra comes from a family with a rich soccer tradition, led most notably by his younger brother, Carlos, who is a former U.S. Men's National Team captain and two-time FIFA World Cup participant (2006 and 2010).
Bocanegra received his bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Fresno State in 1998. He also has earned several coaching licenses, including United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National "A" License, the NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and the NSCAA National Diploma.
On Bocanegra's Hire
"We had a high level of interest for our position from across the nation, and throughout the process, Diego continually stood out above a strong field of candidates. He has been an instrumental factor of a nationally prominent program in Notre Dame, and we are excited to welcome Diego, Kellie, Isabella and Luca to the Houston family."
-Former Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Hunter Yurachek
Bocanegra On Joining Houston
"I'm extremely humbled, honored and excited to be taking this position. Under the direction of Renu Khator and Hunter Yurachek, there is a sense of excitement and enthusiasm about the University of Houston that I felt when I visited, and that was the final selling point for me. The City of Houston is a soccer hotbed and The American is a great soccer conference. I'm excited to have the opportunity to develop a championship program."