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Top Assistant Coaches 2015

February 28, 2016 - Twelve difference makers who are making an impact. College Soccer News annually seeks to recognize assistant coaches across the country who are excelling at their work. Our selections for 2015 include some who have been listed in the past as well as some not previously recognized. In making these selections we state up-front that we know some very deserving assistant coaches will be left out as is always the case when individuals are singled out for recognition. The current selections continue our trend in the past several seasons of placing additional weight on team success on the field of play in the selection criteria.

There are many very good assistant coaches in the collegiate ranks across the nation who have had and will continue to have a very positive impact on college soccer. The very best are effective teachers, communicators, motivators, and recruiters. They relate well to the players they coach while maintaining their respect. Successful head coaches will be the first to emphasize the role that their assistants play in the level of success that a program achieves. The very best assistance coaches are soccer and people savvy mentors who understand their role and are totally aligned with the direction of the head coach. 

Assistant coaches recognized in past years by College Soccer News who are now head coaches include Kevin Grimes at California, Cameron Rast at Santa Clara, Bill Irwin at Portland, Robert McCourt at Monmouth, Bobby Muus at Wake Forest, Mike Jacobs formerly at Evansville, Todd Yeagley at Indiana, Jesse Comier at Vermont, Kelly Findley at North Carolina State, Erik Ronning at Colgate, Brian Wiese at Georgetown, Darren Powell at Elon, Damon Rensing at Michigan State, Jamie Clark at Washington, Kevin Anderson at Columbia, Sean Phillips at UIC, Eric Pogue at Oakland, Ralph Polson at Wofford, Scott Calabrese at FIU, Brad Ruzzo at Mercer, Andy Fleming at Xavier, Carlos Somoano at North Carolina, Ryan Anatol at Stony Brook, Johan Cedergren at Kentucky, Jared Embick at Akron, Chris Volk at UC Irvine, Kylie Stannard at Yale, Mario Sanchez at SIUE and Nick Carlin-Voigt at Portland.  

Jukka Masalin

Syracuse

Masalin came to Syracuse in 2010 when Ian McIntyre took over the reigns of the program. He was part of the turnaround at Syracuse that included a banner 2015 season in which the Orange was 16-5-4 and advanced to the College Cup for the first time in the history of the program.

He was promoted to Associate Head Coach at Syracuse in 2014. Prior to that he was an assistant under McIntyre at Harwick. Before that he served as the head assistant coach for the Atlanta Silverbacks from 2004 through 2007.  

Phillip Jones 

Clemson

Jones became an assistant coach at Clemson when Mike Noonan became the head coach in 2010. He was promoted to Assoicate Head Coach in 2012.

Jones has been part of a Clemson program that has improved yearly since 2010. In 2015 the Tigers were 17-3-4 overall and advanced to the College Cup Final for the first time in twenty-eigth seasons.

Prior to coming to Clemson, Jones was an assistant coach at Embry-Riddle and at Brown. He played collegiae soccer at Emory-Riddle where he was a four-time All-Florida Sun Conference selection and an honorable mention All-American in 1999.  

Ian Gordona 

Ohio State  

Gordona is among the repeat selections. He joined John Bluem's staff as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinatior in 2014. Bluem stated, "He (Gordona) is an excellent young coach, tremendous motivator, and fantastic recruiter."

In 2015 Gordona played a key role in attracting a recruiting class to Ohio State that was ranked by College Soccer News as the ninth best in the country.The Buckeyes won the 2015 Big Ten regular season title, earned the number nine seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.

Gordona's served as an assistant coach at the Univeristy of Michigan for two seasons and was a recruiting liaison and academy coach with MLS's Columbus Crew Youth Development Program for four years prior to coming to Ohio State. 

Brian Rowland 

Maryland

Rowland joined the coaching staff at Maryland as an assistant coach under Sasho Cirovski in 2011. In 2015, Rowland was promoted to associate head coach.

Rowland has played a key role in mentoring several highly successful Terp goalkeepers during his time to date at Maryland. He also has helped guide Maryland to four consecutive regular season and tournament conference championships. Maryland earned its fifteenth consecutive invite to the NCAA Tournament in 2015, was awarded the number ten seed in the NCAA Tourney, and advanced to the Elite Eight.

Rowland was a four-year starter and two-time captain as a player at UMBC. 

Ryan Hopkins 

Denver

Hopkins came to Denver in 2013 after serving as an assistant coach at Wisconsin for a season and at Cal Poly for four seasons.

Denver has won the Summit League regular season and tournament titles for the past three years and a berth in the NCAA Tourney.

The Pioneers had a banner season in 2015 during which they earned the number thirteen seed in the NCAA Tournament and finished the season with a 15-1-3 overall record. Hopkins played a key role in working with a tenacious Denver defense that allowed a total of only eight goals and recorded twelve shutouts in 2015.

He was honored by the NSCAA as the 2015 West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. 

John Smith

Stanford

Smith came to Stanford in 2012 when Jeremy Gunn became the head coach of the Cardinal. He was promoted to Associate Head Coach in 2014.

Prior to coming to The Farm he was the head coach at Division II Incarnate Word for six years and before that he served as an assistant coach at CSU Bakersfield.

At Stanford Smith has worked primarily with the attack and has been an important ingredient in the success the Cardinal has enjoyed since 2012 including Pac-12 Championships in 2013 and 2014 and culminating in an 18-2-3 record in 2015 and the program's first national championship.  

Dane Brenner

Wake Forest 

Brenner has served as an assistant coach at Wake Forest for five seasons with a focus on working with the Demon Deacon defense and serving as as the program's recruiting coordinator.

Wake Forest was 17-3-2 in 2015, they were awarded the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight were they were topped 2-1 in overtime by eventual national champion Stanford. The Wake Forest 2015 recruiting class was ranked by College Soccer News as the number eight class in the country.

Brenner, who is from High Point, North Carolina, was an assistant coach at Connecticut for four seasons prior to coming to Wake Forest. He was a four year starter and an All-Conference USA goalkeeper as a player at South Florida. 

Brian Maisonneuve 

Indiana 

Maisonneuve is among those who are repeat selections. He joined the IU staff under head coach Todd Yeagley in 2010. He was named Associate Head Coach in 2014.

Prior to that he was an assistant coach at Louisville for two seasons and before that he was an assistant coach for the U.S. U-20 National Team for four seasons. Maisonneuve had a banner carrear as a collegiate player at Indiana and also spent nine seasons with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer. He was named the 2015 MIdwest Region Coach of the Year by the NSCAA.

IU earned its 29th straight bid to the NCAA Tourney in 2015 and was awarded the the number sixteen seed. They advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tourney and finished the year with a 13-5-3 overall record.     

Johnny Torres

Creighton

Torres is synonymous with Creighton soccer. He had an outstanding career as a collegiate player at Creighton leading the Bluejays to their first ever College Cup appearance in 1996. In 1997 he won the Hermann Trophy.

Torres will enter his tenth season as an assistant coach at Creighton in 2016. He has been named the Great Lakes Region Assistant Coach of the Year three times in the past five seasons.

His roles on the coaching staff include scouting, recruiting, and training. In 2015 he played a key role in developing a very potent Bluejay attack that was part of another successful season in which Creighton was 19-4-0 overall and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. 

Stephen Gorton

Oakland 

Gorton became a member of the Oakland men's soccer staff in 2011.

Prior to that he was the head coach at Garden City Commuity College for four seasons. He also served as an assistant coach at Western Illinois. Gorton played college soccer at WIU and was named an NSCAA All-American.

Oakland Coach Eric Pogue stated,"Since arriving to Oakland in 2011, Sgephen has helped assist Oakland to three league championships and two NCAA tournament appearances in the last three years including back to back Horizon League titles in 2014 and 2015." Pogue added, "Stephen has played an instrumental role in the success of our program at all levels program management including team training, recruiting, scouting, camp director, scheduling, fundraising, and equipment."  

Zach Samol

Georgetown

Somol will enter his 11th season as a member of head coach Brian Wiese's staff at Georgetown and fifth as the Associate Head Coach.

Samol is an important ingredient in a coaching staff that has taken the program at Georgetown to new heights in conference play as well as on the national scene. The Hoyas have earned a berth in the NCAA Tourney five times in the last six seasons and are now a national powerhouse. In 2015 the Hoyas were 16-2-3 overall with an impressive 9-0-0 mark in Big East Conference action. Their season included an eighteen game unbeaten streak and a fourteen game win streak. Prior to coming to Georgetown,

Somol was an assistant coach at Yale for four seasons and before that an assistant coach at Boston College for two years. He played college soccer at Dartmouth where he was an All-Ivy selection.   

John Murphy

Boston College 

Murphy will enter his third season as the Associate Head Coach at Boston College under Head Coach Ed Kelly.

Murphy is an established coach with a long record of success who brings a ton of coaching experience to the pitch. He is a proven recruiter with an eye for talent as reflected in the classes that he has been associated with over the years. His resume includes head coaching experience at Anderson University, Assumption College and Massasoit Community College.  He has also served as an assistant coach at Clemson and Brown and has been a member of the staff of the New England Revolution, the Columbus Crew, and Livingston of the Scottish First Division.

Boston College finished the 2015 season ranked by the NSCAA and College Soccer News as the number ten team in the country. The Eagles completed the season with an 11-8-2 overall record that included a run to the Elite Eight for only the second time in the history of a very successful soccer program.