Benatar named girls soccer head coach

UNT associate head coach Fleur Benatar joins the Coppell athletic department as head girls soccer coach after nearly 30 years coaching at the collegiate level. Benatar steps in for Coppell coach Beca Sawers, who took over as interim head coach at the beginning of last season.

Photo courtesy Fleur Benatar.

UNT associate head coach Fleur Benatar joins the Coppell athletic department as head girls soccer coach after nearly 30 years coaching at the collegiate level. Benatar steps in for Coppell coach Beca Sawers, who took over as interim head coach at the beginning of last season.

Anjali Krishna, Executive Editor-in-Chief

With nearly 30 years of experience in coaching college level women’s soccer, Hebron assistant coach Fleur Benatar joins the Coppell athletic department as head girls soccer coach.

Benatar steps in for Coppell coach Beca Sawers, who took over as interim head coach at the beginning of last season and led Coppell to the bi-district playoffs.

“I want to uphold that Coppell reputation on the field,” Benatar said. “It’s a great school, great facility, great kids. We’re in a very tough district and I understand that and what kind of players we’re in and around. My goal is to make a sound program that everyone can believe in and everyone can be a part of and attract those soccer players who want to be successful not only on the field but in the classroom.”

Growing up playing soccer in Richardson, Benatar went on to play at UNT and Arkansas. Falling in love with coaching soon after, she served as an assistant coach with UNT while it earned its first conference title and at 25, became Texas Woman’s University’s first head girls soccer coach. 

After 11 years at TWU, Benatar returned to UNT as associate head coach. Benatar’s move to coach with Hebron at the high school level came from a desire to spend more time with her family

“Being on the road with UNT is a pretty heavy travel season, and we’re on the road a lot and we’re recruiting a lot,” Benatar said. “I have three kids in Lewisville ISD and I wanted to spend more time with them. I had actually interviewed for a few head positions before COVID-19 hit, and when I didn’t get those jobs, it was fine. I really wanted the job at Iowa State but that would have broken my family apart, so being a mom and a coach I had to decide what I wanted to do: chase my Division I head coaching dream or sink back into reality. So I decided, I’m going to go back into the high school game.”

Being a mom and a coach I had to decide what I wanted to do: chase my Division I head coaching dream or sink back into reality. ”

— Fleur Benatar

Benatar stood out to Coppell not only for her many years of experience but for her balance between competition and building team relationships.

“Her ability to put our girls in a place to play competitive soccer while having relationship skills to provide rich, well-rounded and positive experiences for our girls is necessary,” Coppell ISD Athletic Director Kit Pehl said. “She just recently decided to coach at the high school level and we’re going to reap the benefits of that for our program.”

As Coppell was in the process of hiring volleyball, girls soccer and swimming and diving coaches and also in need of a girls athletics coordinator, the process of hiring the three coaches became enmeshed. A new swimming and diving coach has yet to be announced.

“The process of hiring was a little interesting because one of the new hires also had to be our girls coordinator, since we were hoping the girls coordinator could come from any of those three candidates,” Pehl said. “We ended up interviewing some coordinator candidates from both the soccer and volleyball end, but because our girls coordinator came from volleyball, it made our girls soccer meshed with the volleyball hiring. We ended up with an absolute dynamite candidate.”

Outside of coaching women’s soccer, Benatar serves as an assistant coach for the Denton Diablos, a semi-professional men’s team, and with a local recreational soccer team. As a part of the US Soccer Talent ID, she scouts for three national teams. 

“There’s not a lot of soccer I haven’t done,” Benatar said. “I want people to love soccer like I do; I’m very passionate about the game so it’s important to me that kids want to get better, want to work hard and want to learn the ins and outs of the game. I believe that the supporting community will be awesome and I’m looking forward to being a part of the Coppell community. I’m ready to get going.”

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