Director of Goalkeeping
Hemant Sharma has been a part of the Knoxville soccer community since 2004. He served as a member of the coaching staff for the University of Tennessee women’s soccer team from 2004 to 2012 and served as the team's Director of Soccer Operations from 2012 to 2014. He was a part of three SEC championship teams (2004, 2005, 2008) and three NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearances (2004, 2005, 2007). Sharma also has helped to coordinate the Lady Vol Soccer team's involvement in TOPSOCCER, which is a program for disabled athletes. He currently serves as goalkeeper coach for the Tennessee ODP program for boys and girls and has been the Director of Goalkeeping for FC Alliance since 2009. During that timespan, FC Alliance has produced more than 20 collegiate goalkeepers.
During his playing career at Cornell University, the Short Hills, N.J., native earned All-Ivy League and All-Region honors, and played in the NCAA Tournament. In his senior year, he set a school record for shutouts in a season. Sharma proved equally adept in the classroom as he was a member of the Dean's List and the winner of the prestigious James E. Rice writing prize.
After college, he was a draft pick of all three major professional indoor soccer leagues that existed in the U.S. in the late 1990s (NPSL, WISL, EISL). He was a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Blizzard of the National Professional Soccer League and a fifth-round draft pick of the Arizona Thunder of the World Indoor Soccer League and played five years of pro indoor soccer. The two leagues later combined to become the Major Indoor Soccer League. Sharma also held coaching positions at his alma mater, serving as an assistant coach for the Cornell women's squad (2001) and men's squad (2000).
Hemant is a 1997 graduate of Cornell, with a bachelor of arts in English and a certificate in Financial Management. He received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2009, and was the first recipient of the University of Tennessee's Otis Stephens Fellowship, granted for excellence in the study of American politics. He currently teaches in the University of Tennessee's Political Science Department and co-authored a textbook: An Introduction to the American Legal System, which was released by Wolters Kluwer publishers of New York. He also has penned an article entitled "The Game is the Best Teacher" for the the NSCAA magazine Soccer Journal.