FC Buffalo Women lands first coach

JOIN FCBW — Interested players and staff email wolf@fcbuffalo.org | Partners and sponsors wanted for men’s and women’s teams: email nick@fcbuffalo.org

FC Buffalo is happy to announce that Nikki Bartholomew has accepted an offer to lead our women’s side’s first season in United Women’s Soccer this spring and summer.

Coach Bartholomew will be assisted by Gabrielle Wilson and Leah Ponticello.

Coach Wilson is a former Niagara University player and Canisius College, and she will also serve as the men’s goalkeepers coach and also serves on the women’s soccer advisory board for our club. Coach Ponticello played at Loyola University Chicago and has also served as an assistant coach at Niagara University.

Coach Bartholomew played for the Rochester Lady Rhinos in the W-League after starring as a player at the University at Buffalo, posting two of the program’s top assist seasons while building the third-best assist total in program history (21). Her 61 points between 2000-03 were seventh all-time until current FC Buffalo player Carissima Cutrona posted 74 from 2015-18.


Community-minded and family-first, Coach Bartholomew is a national trainer with the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer For Success program and a coach coordinator for Algonquin Sports for Soccer, where she’s worked since 2012. She joined the Canisius College women’s staff as an assistant between 2004-07 to start nearly two decades of coaching between youth, travel, premier, ODP, high school and the WPSL levels, also refereeing for the USSF and NISOA.

A mainstay of Buffalo soccer as a player, coach, and referee, Coach Bartholomew was born and raised in Lancaster, NY, where she played five years of soccer and basketball at Lancaster High School.

Coach Bartholomew is already working on rounding out her coaching staff, has been scouting college games, and is preparing to contact interested players who fill out the interested players form ahead of some to-be-announced invitational sessions.

FC Buffalo women’s soccer advisory board members Kathleen DiPasquale, Gabrielle Wilson, Courtney Mann Rinow, and Carissima Cutrona:

“There are a lot of great coaches locally, but we wanted to be absolutely certain that we had the right person at the helm with both the passion and experience required to set the program on the right path, both on and off the pitch. Nikki was one of the first names that came to all of our minds. For years, Nikki has been involved at all levels of the game, as both a player and as a coach, and is a staple in Buffalo’s soccer community. If you get a chance to chat with her, you’ll see just as we did how deep her love for the game runs and how determined she is to pass that on to the next generation of players coming out of this area.”

“We look forward to the days of warmer weather so that we can get her out on the pitch and let her do what she does best”

Liz Mantel, FC Buffalo director of women’s soccer:

“Nikki’s passion and dedication to the game is evident when you talk with her. She was at the top of list for each committee member which just shows how solid her reputation is in WNY. We are excited to have her join us and lead this team to success on and off the field.”

FC Buffalo Women head coach Nikki Bartholomew:

“I am honored and thrilled to be back and involved with competitive soccer and FC Buffalo Women. It brings my two loves together, outside of my family: soccer and community. The past several years I’ve been with Algonquin Sports for Kids, bringing youth sports programming to underserved communities, and raising our two young girls. My work will continue there, on both fronts, but I’m excited for the opportunity to be part of something special for women’s soccer, FC Buffalo, and the community. Let’s Go Buffalo!”

About UWS: United Women’s Soccer is a national pro-am league composed of professionally operated clubs within the United States and Canada. United Women’s Soccer provides high-level competition for aspiring and former professionals, college players, and international stars, and counts amongst its alumni, including the 8th and 9th picks in the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League draft and newly-capped United States women’s national team star Catarina Macario.

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