Title: Assistant Coach
Sydney Sonoda recently finished her third season as an assistant coach for the University of Michigan water polo team. She was announced to the coaching staff on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.
Sonoda has helped Michigan to three CWPA Championships and three NCAA appearances. Her goalkeepers have two All-CWPA selections in her three seasons.
Her first year in Ann Arbor featured a CWPA Championship and appearance at the NCAA Championship. As the coach of the goalkeepers, Sonoda coached freshman Heidi Ritner to a U-M freshman record 27 wins. Ritner was a second team All-CWPA selection and the CWPA Championship Rookie of the Tournament.
In 2018, Sonoda helped lead the team to its third straight CWPA Championship as they defeated Princeton, 11-8, in the final. The team has posted a 32-9 record with Sonoda coaching Ritner to a single-season record 30 wins in the cage.
The 2019 season brought a fourth straight CWPA Championship for the first time in program history and the third with Sonoda on staff. She coached Heidi Ritner to a first team All-CWPA selection as well as a CWPA All-Tournament team pick.
Sonoda, a former player for Leonardi at Cal State Northridge, landed her first college coaching job after coaching the last two years at Elite Water Polo Club in Murrieta, California. She assisted in practice and game plans, developed an offseason strength and conditioning program and was involved in fundraising.
She also has experience as an assistant coach at Murrieta Valley High School, leading the JV team to a victory in the league finals and aiding the varsity to a CIF Division II championship. In 2015-16, she was a youth and cadet coach for the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program.
While coaching at the Elite Water Polo Club from 2014-16, Sonoda also was a designated instructional services aide at Murrieta Valley High School for one year after working as an extended daycare program assistant from 2012-14 at Encinitas Union School District.
Sonoda graduated from Cal State Northridge in 2011 with a dual degree in criminal justice and sociology. As a player at CSUN, she scored 143 career goals and had 101 career steals. She was a two-time All-Big West selection and honorable mention All-American in 2010. She earned the team's work ethic award in 2009, the team's offensive MVP in 2011 and the team's rookie of the year honor in 2008.
Title: Assistant Coach
Josh Hower recently concluded his second season as an assistant coach for the University of Michigan water polo team. He was hired in December, 2017.
In his first season with the Wolverines, Hower helped coach the team to a NCAA appearance, CWPA Championship and 32-9 record. Two players earned All-CWPA first team honors.
The 2019 season also featured a CWPA Championship and automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Two players earned All-CWPA first team selections and Michigan had the CWPA Player and Rookie of the Year honorees.
Hower came to Ann Arbor from Corona, California, where he kept himself very busy in a variety of coaching roles. He served as an assistant coach for the men's and women's water polo teams at Pomona-Pitzer (2015-17), coached in the Olympic Development Program (ODP), was an age group coach at Foothill Club Water Polo and coached at both St. Lucy Priory and Chino high schools.
As part of the 2017-18 NCAA Division I legislation, the limitation on number of coaches who may be employed by an institution and who may contact or evaluate prospective student-athletes off campus was increased from two to three.
His responsibilities at Pomona-Pitzer included leading the recruiting efforts for the women's team, while implementing a strength and conditioning program for both teams. He also contributed to scouting reports and video analysis and organized travel for the teams. During his time at Pomona-Pitzer, Hower helped coach the women's team to a 2017 SCIAC Championship and the men's team to 2016 and 2017 SCIAC Championships.
At Foothill Club he became the Girl's High School Program Director in August, 2017 after serving as an age group coach (12U boys) from 2014-17. Some of his top finishes were second place at the 2017 U.S. Club Championships, 2017 Kap 7 Orange County Tournament and 2016 San Diego County Cup.
For two seasons (2016-17), he was the head coach of the girl's water polo team at St. Lucy Priory and from 2013-17 he was the head coach of aquatics at Chino High School. His notable finishes included leading the Chino girls team to the CIF Division 7 semifinals in 2015 and the Chino boys team to the 2017 CIF Division 5 semifinals and 2016 CIF Division 6 quarterfinals.
With the ODP program, Hower has been the Coastal Zone Youth Coach since 2016 and coached at the 2017 boy's youth national team selection camp. He also coached at the Holiday Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in 2015-16.
Hower graduated with a degree in history from Whittier College in 2005. He was a two-year captain for the Whittier College men's water polo team, leading the 2004 team to the school's first SCIAC Championship. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2016 as a member of that championship team.
Title: USA Women's National Team Goalie Coach
Girls varsity water polo coach at Morro Bay High School
Assistant Coach for USA Water Polo (USAWP) Women's Youth National Team
Olympic Development Program (ODP) Zone Head Coach of Coastal California Zone for USAWP
USAWP ODP Goalkeeper Coach
Team Leader for USAWP Women's Senior National Team during Kunshan Cup and World League Super Final in China (2017)
Assistant Coach, USWAP Men's Cadet National Team. Budapest, Hungary (2016)Assistant Coach, USAWP Women's Youth National Team during Pan American Championships (2014)