DEKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois University women’s soccer head coach Michael O’Neill announced the addition of Valentina Giambanco to the Huskie soccer staff as an assistant coach on Thursday (July 28). Giambanco comes to DeKalb following two seasons as the head varsity girls soccer coach at New Haven (Mich.) High School.
“It’s great to have Valentina on board,” said O’Neill. “As soon as I was hired here at NIU she was someone I knew could help make an instant impact on this program. Her energy as a player and coach is second to none. We are lucky to have Valentina on board and I’m excited to see her flourish here at NIU.”
“I’m really looking forward to joining NIU and representing the Huskies,” said Giambanco. “I am grateful to be given the opportunity to work alongside such a talented and ambitious coaching staff. The vision that both Coach O’Neill and Laurence (Paterson) have for the game will have a tremendous impact on the program and I am excited and ready to be a part of that journey. Go Huskies!”
In her two seasons leading the New Haven program, Giambanco led the Rockets to both a league and a district championship. In the spring of 2021, New Haven won the Macomb Area Conference-Silver with a perfect 6-0 league mark as the Rockets went 13-4 overall. This past spring, New Haven captured its first girls soccer district title, defeating Memphis, 7-1, in the district championship game.
Giambanco played collegiately at Saginaw Valley State for four seasons (2016-20) under O’Neill. She appeared in 76 matches for the Cardinals, making 54 starts while scoring 23 goals with 13 assists. As a junior in 2018, Giambanco was named to the All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) First Team while also earning All-Midwest Region honors from the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA). Saginaw Valley State advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2018, winning 12 matches. During Giambanco’s senior season in 2019, the Cardinals once again won 12 games and reached the GLIAC Tournament Final.
Following her playing career at Saginaw Valley, Giambanco joined the Cardinals as a volunteer assistant coach in the spring of 2020.
Along with her time at New Haven and Saginaw Valley, Giambanco also served as an assistant coach with the Michigan Olympic Development Program Pool in both the 2007 and 2009 age groups in 2021. She has also been the head coach of two teams in the Michigan Stars club program, based out of Metro Detroit.
A native of Shelby Township, Mich., Giambanco earned her bachelor’s degree from Saginaw Valley in communication, with a minor in athletic coaching.