January 9, 2013 – College Soccer News annually seeks to recognize assistant coaches across the country who are excelling at their work. Our selections for 2012 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 we are going to leave off some very deserving assistant coaches as is always the case when individuals are singled out for recognition. However, as in the past we are confident that those selected are deserving and worthy of recognition. The current selections continue our trend of the past few 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 tremendous impact on college soccer. The very best are effective teachers, communicators, and motivators. They relate well to the players they coach while maintaining their respect. Successful head coaches will be the first to emphasize the key role that their assistants play in the degree of success that any program achieves. The very best assistant coaches understand their role and effectively align their efforts with the direction of the head coach.
Assistant coaches honored in the past 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 Denver, Mike Jacobs at Evansville, Todd Yeagley at Indiana, Jesse Cormier at Vermont, Kelly Findley at N.C. 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 ETSU, Carl Junot at Harvard, Brad Ruzzo at Mercer, Andy Fleming at Xavier, Carlos Somano at North Carolina, Ryan Anatol at Stony Brook, Johan Cedergren at Kentucky and Jared Embick at Akron.
Brian Maisonneuve – Indiana – The 2012 season was Maisonneuve’s third as an assistant coach at Indiana under head coach Todd Yeagley. Prior to that he served as an assistant at Louisville under Ken Lolla. Maisonneuve played collegiate soccer at Indiana from 1991 through 1994 where he was an All-American as a junior and senior and the Hermann Trophy winner in 1994. He also played for the Columbus Crew for nine seasons and was a member of the U.S. 1998 World Cup team. Yeagley stated, “Brian is one of the finest players to have ever played at IU and we are fortunate to bring his distinguished playing and coaching experience back to Indiana University.”
Jeff Nagalha – North Carolina – Negalha has served as an assistant coach at North Carolina for eight seasons. He assists head coach Carlos Somoano in all aspects of the program. Negalha has played a key role in attracting top talent to Chapel Hill with recruiting classes that have consistently been ranked by CSN as among the best in the country. During his tenure the Tar Heels have made seven NCAA tourney appearances including four trips to the Final Four and won a national championship in 2011. Negalha has played a key role in developing the Tar Heel goalkeepers. He also have been very active in youth soccer serving as a head coach for the CASL U-17 team.
Kris Bertsch – Xavier – Bertsch was named the associate head coach at Xavier under head coach Andy Fleming prior to the 2012 season after serving as an assistance coach for two years. During his tenure to date Bertsch has helped the Musketeers secure thirty-six wins – the most in any three year period in program history. Fleming stated, “Kris continues to grow and has really evolved as a trainer for our team and someone who makes several key personnel and tactical decisions within our games. I think you’d be hard pressed to fin a more driven assistant out there and one who has the same attention to detail and the ability to juggle several balls at once like Kris can.”
Johnny Torres – Creighton – The 1997 Hermann Trophy winner and two-time All-American is synonymous with Creighton soccer as a player from 1994 through 1997, as an assistant coach for the past six seasons and as a member of the Omaha Community. Torres duties on the Creighton staff include scouting, recruiting and training. He played a key role in the Bluejays run to the College Cup in the 2011 and 2012 seasons under the direction of head coach Elmar Bolowich. The Bluejays were 21-2-1 in 2011 and 17-4-3 in 2012. Torres, one of Creighton’s most decorated players, clearly knows what it takes to play at the highest level as well as the value of giving back to the community.
Mario Sanchez – Louisville – Sanchez joined the coaching staff at Louisville as an assistance coach under head coach Ken Lolla in 2010. Prior to that he was the head coach at UNLV for four seasons and before that he was an assistant for three seasons at Akron. The Cardinals were 20-1-3 in 2010 and earned their first trip to the College Cup. In 2011 Louisville was 14-7-2 and advanced to the Elite Eight in NCAA tournament play. Last year the Cardinals were 14-6-1 and again advanced to the Elite Eight. Lolla stated, “We value Mario as such an integral part of our program as he is not only one of the best coaches in college soccer, he is one of the best young coaches in the game.”
Kylie Stannard – Michigan State – Stannard joined the coaching staff at Michigan State under head coach Damon Rensing in 2009. During the four years that he has been at Michigan State he has helped the Spartans secure NCAA tournament berths in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Michigan State also won the Big Ten Championship in 2012. Prior to that he was an assistant coach at Northern Illinois for four seasons under Steve Simmons who is now the head coach at Oregon State. In 2012 Stannard become the first-ever head coach of the Detroit City FC of the National Premier Soccer League. He holds a USSF National “A” Coaching license and played for the Creighton Bluejays.
Paul Souders – New Mexico – The 2012 campaign was Souders fifth season as a Lobo assistant coach and third as associate head coach under the direction of head coach Jeremy Fishbein. The Lobos were 17-4-1 in 2012 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in NCAA tournament play for the second consecutive season. Sounders came to UNM after three seasons as an assistant coach at Dayton. He is a native of Dallas, Texas and a graduate of Clemson University. Fishbein stated, “He (Souders) has so much passion for this game and he takes pride in all the things we stand for as a program. I feel fortunate to be able to work with a coach and person of his caliber.”
BJ Craig – Notre Dame – Craig has a wealth of experience having served as an assistant coach at Notre Dame for five seasons under head coach Bobby Clark. He also was an assistant coach at Louisville in 2007 and prior to that he had a successful four year tenure as the head coach at Saint Francis. Craig helped lead the Irish to a banner season in 2012 in which they were 17-4-1 and recorded the most wins for the program since the 1988 season. The Irish also won the 2012 Big East Conference Championship and were awarded the number one seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. Craig holds a USSF B License.
Zach Samol – Georgetown – The 2012 season was Samol’s first as an associate head coach at Georgetown and seventh as a member of the Georgetown coaching staff under head coach Brian Wiese. Samol also served as an assistant coach at Yale and at Boston College prior to coming to Georgetown. He played collegiate soccer at Dartmouth College where he was an All-Ivy League selection. Wiese stated, “Zach has been an integral piece of every program he has touched.” He added, “His commitment to this program has put Georgetown on the national stage.” The Hoyas had a banner 2012 season going 19-4-3 and advancing to the national championship game
John Deeley – Connecticut – Deeley has been a member of the coaching staff at Connecticut for sixteen seasons including the last twelve as an associate head coach under the direction of head coach Ray Reid. Deeley’s duties include scouting and analyzing opponents. Working along side Reid he has played an important role in a program that is annually ranked among the top teams in the nation and that has earned fifteen consecutive invites to the NCAA tournament. In 2012 Connecticut earned the number four seed in the NCAA tournament and finished the season with a 17-4-1 record while advancing to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season.
Alex Passucci – Fairleigh Dickinson – The 2012 campaign is Passucci’s eighteenth as an assistant coach at FDU and the fifteenth that he has worked under the direction of head coach Seth Roland. Passucci is dedicated to the development of the program having also played collegiate soccer at FDU from 1988 through 1991. He has also been active in youth soccer as the head coach of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Blue Knights. Passucci played a role in a very successful 2012 season in which FDU won the NEC championship and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tourney. Roland stated, “Alex has a clear picture of the game and how it should be played.”
Jukka Masalin – Syracuse – Masalin became an assistant coach at Syracuse in 2010 under head coach Ian McIntyre. Before that he was McIntyre’s top aide for two seasons at Hartwick. Masalin is involved in all facets of the program, including recruitment, player training and development, game preparation and opponent scouting. He has served as the top assistant coach for the USL First Division Rochester Rhinos and as the head assistant coach for the Atlanta Silverbacks. Masalin played collegiate soccer as a goalkeeper for Lander University. Syracuse had a breakout season in 2012 with a 14-6-1 record that included a trip to the Sweet 16 in NCAA tourney play.
Yossi Raz – Cal State Northridge – Raz has served as an assistant coach at Cal State Northridge under the tutelage of head coach Terry Davila for eight seasons. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2011. Raz joined the coaching staff in 2005 after four stellar seasons as a midfielder for the Matadors during which time he became the first player to be named an All-Big West Conference First-Team selection for four seasons. Davila stated, “Yossi has been a great addition to our program and he’s made it better since the first day he stepped in.” The Matadors won the Big West Conference title in 2012 and returned to the NCAA field for the first time since the 2005 season.
Anthony Adams – UMBC – Adams has been on the staff at UMBC for sixteen seasons becoming an associate head coach in 2011 working along side veteran Retriever head coach Pete Caringi. Adams was a player at UMBC from 1992 to 1995 earning four letters as a player under his mentor Caringi. Caringi stated, “Anthony bleeds black and gold. He has really grown as a coach and I have complete confidence in him.” Caringi added, “You can’t really put into words what he has done to help this program.” Adams has a USSF “A” license and has been very successful as a youth coach at the USSF Development Academy’s Baltimore Bays. UMBC had a banner 2012 season.
Troy Lesesne – College of Charleston – The 2012 campaign was Lesesne’s fifth as the assistant head coach and eighth as a member of the College of Charleston’s coaching staff under the direction of Ralph Lundy. Lesesne, who is a native of West Columbia, South Carolina, also had a stellar career as a midfielder for the Cougars. Lundy is quick to praise Lesesne for his work ethic and the value that he brings to the program. Lesesne’s responsibilities include all areas of the program, including academics, coordinating recruiting, alumni relations, and scheduling. He holds a USSF “A” License and has served as a coach for South Carolina United FC-Mt. Pleasant.