June 22, 2021 – College Soccer News annually seeks to recognize assistant coaches across the country who are excelling at their work. The 2020 honorees inclued several who have been recognized in the past and several new faces.
In making these selections, we acknoledge up-front that some very deserving assistant coaches will not be included as is always the case when individuals are singled our for recognition. It should be noted that our 2020 selections take into consideration team success on the field of play during the fall 2020 and spring 2021 seasons with additional weight given to consistent success over several seasons.
There are many excellent assistant coaches in the collegiate ranks who have a positive impact on college soccer and player development. The very best are effective teachers, communicators, motivators, recruiters, and ambassadors for their respective programs. Some, but not necessarily all, aspire to become a head coach at some point. All seek to make a positive contributioin in their current role.
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 formerly at Portland, Robert McCourt at Monmouth, Bobby Muuss at Wake Forest, Mike Jacobs formerly at Evansville, Todd Yeagley at Indiana, Jesse Cormier at FGCU, Kelly Findley at Liberty, Erik Ronning at Colgate, Brian Wiese at Georgetown, Darren Powell formerly at Elon, Damon Rensing at Michigan State, Jamie Clark at Washington, Kevin Anderson at Columbia, Sean Phillips at UIC, Eric Pogue at Oakland, Ralph Polston formerly at Wofford, Scott Calabrese at UCF, 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 formerly at UC Irvine, Kylie Stannard at Yale, Jason O’Keefe at Robert Morris, Mario Sanchez formerly at SIUE, Nick Carlin-Voight at Portland, John Murphy at Georgia Southern, Brian Maisonneuve at Ohio State, Brian Rowland at Temple, Yossi Raz at UC Irvine, Brian Gill at Penn, Zack Samol at American, Johnny Torres at Creighton, Stephen Gorton at Purdue-Fort Wayne, Leonard Griffin at Grand Canyon, Scott Buete at Salisbury University, and Ryan Hopkins at San Diego State.
|Patrick McSorley – Virginia Tech – The 2020 season was McSorley’s 13th as a member of the coaching staff at Virginia Tech and his first as associate head coach. McSorley has been part of the resurgence of a Virginia Tech program under head coach Mike Brizendine that has appeared in the NCAA Tournament for five straight seasons and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen during four out of the past five seasons.
Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, McSorley was on the staff of his alma mater James Madison for six years serving as an assistant coach and associate head coach. Prior to that he served as the top assistant coach at VMI for four years.
As a player at James Madison, McSorley had 42 career goals, was part of a team that earned four berths in the NCAA Tournament, and was named an All-American as a senior in 1995.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in sports recreation and leadership from James Madison.
|Jeff Rowland – Washington – Rowland joined the staff at Washington as an assistance coach under head coach Jamie Clark in 2011 and was named associate head coach in 2018.
During his tenure to date the Huskies have earned eight berths in the NCAA and have advanced to the Elite Eight for the past two seasons. Washington has had double-digit win seasons in 9 out of the last ten years.
Before coming to Washington, Rowland served as an assistant coach at Creighton and as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard. As a player at New Mexico he was a two-time First Team All-America selection and as a senior in 2005 was a runner-up for the Hermann Trophy award.
Rowland graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico.
|Paul Souders – UCF – Sounders joined the coaching staff at UCF in 2016 as an assistant coach and was named associate head coach in 2018.
After experiencing growing pains during the early part of the spring 2021 season, UCF rebounded to win the American Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time and a berth in the NCAA Tourney for the third straight season. They subsequently advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. The Knights had a banner season in 2019 during which they were 15-3-2, earned the number nine seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
Souders’ duties include recruiting, scheduling and participation in daily training sessions with a focus on developing the offense.
Before coming to UCF, Sounders was a member of the coaching staff at New Mexico for nine years serving as an associate coach for seven years. During his tenure at New Mexico the Lobos advanced to the Sweet Sixteen three times including a run to the College Cup in 2013. Souders was also an assistant coach at Dayton for three seasons.
Souders has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Clemson where as a player he was part of two teams that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament.
|Phil Jones – Clemson – The 2020 season was Jones’ eleventh as a member of the coaching staff at Clemson under head coach Mike Noonan. He served as an assistant coach for two seasons before being named associate head coach in 2012.
Jones has been a part of a very successful Clemson program that has been a frontrunner in the ACC winning the regular season title in 2019 and the tournament title in 2020. The Tigers have also been a consistent force on the national scene earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament during seven of the last eight seasons. Clemson was 14-3-3 in 2020 and was awarded the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Jones is Clemson’s primary recruiting coordinator and plays an active part in the team’s daily training sessions. Prior to coming to Clemson, he served as an assistant coach at Brown University for a season and served as a graduate assistance at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University where he also played from 1999 through 2002.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Degree and a Masters Degree from Emory Riddle.
|Oige Kennedy – Stanford – Kennedy has been a member of the coaching staff at Stanford working with head Jeremy Gunn for six seasons. In 2018 he was promoted to associate head coach.
Before that he served as the head coach at Fort Lewis where he had a 102-37-9 overall record and won two NSCAA Division II National Championships. Kennedy’s main focus has been on developing the Cardinal goalkeepers and on the play on the defensive side of the ball. He most recently worked with Andrew Thomas who was a three-time member All-Pac12 First Team member and a 2019 All-America selection.
Gunn stated in regard to Kennedy, “His soccer brain and eye for the game are unequaled and he has been an integral part of the amazing success the Stanford men’s soccer program has enjoyed.”
Stanford finished the 2021 spring season with a 10-3-1 overall record during which they won the Pac-12 championship for the sixth time in the past seven seasons and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth straight season.
Kennedy played four years as a professional in Europe and for several seasons for Ireland’s national youth teams. He served as a captain for the Irish University squad for two years. His coaching resume also includes working with the Manchester United Soccer School and Bobby Charlton Soccer School for six years.
Kennedy earned his bachelor’s degree in sport science from University College Dublin and computer science diploma from Dublin Institute of Technology.
|Michael Behonick – Pittsburgh – Behonick completed his fifth season as a member of the coaching staff at Pittsburgh in 2020 under head coach Jay Vidovich. He has been a part of a Panther program that has transitioned from a program at the bottom of the ACC to one that is now a legitimate contender for the ACC title and a force on the national scene.
In 2019 the Panthers were 10-8-2 overall and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 1965 and secured the program’s first ever win in NCAA Tournament play. During the 2020 fall season the Panthers were 7-1-0 and advanced to the ACC Championship match. They followed that with a banner 2021 spring season during which they advanced to the College Cup for the first time in program history and completed the fall and spring seasons with a 16-4-0 overall record.
Behonick’s role includes recruiting and a focus on the defensive side of the ball during training sessions.
Before coming to Pitt he served as an assistant coach for two seasons at Penn State and five seasons at Virginia.
Behonick played collegiate soccer as a goalkeeper for American University during which time the Eagles advanced to the Sweet Sixteen twice. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from American in 2003.
|Dane Brenner – Wake Forest – Brenner just completed his 11th season as a member of the coaching staff at Wake Forest. He has served as an Associate Head Coach for the Demon Deacons since 2018.
Brenner has been a key part of the success that Wake Forest has enjoyed serving under head coach Bobby Muuss for seven seasons during which time the Deacons have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the last six seasons and to the College Cup twice. Wake Forest had another banner season in 2020-2021 during which they were 13-3-2 overall and advanced to the Elite Eight.
Brenner works primarily with the team’s defensive unit and goalkeepers and also serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator.
He played collegiate soccer for South Florida where he was a four-year starter in goal and three-time captain. Brenner graduated from South Florida in 2006.
|Jason Osborne – Charlotte – Osborne has been a member of the coaching staff at Charlotte for nine seasons including four as Associate Head Coach under head coach Kevin Langan.
During that time the 49ers have secured a berth in the NCAA Tournament eight times including the 2020-2021 season and has become a fixture in the national rankings. Charlotte concluded the 2021 spring season with a 6-3-2 overall record that included a 6-1-0 mark in CUSA play.
Osborne plays an active role in daily training sessions and serves as Charlotte’s recruiting coordinator.
He has been active in youth soccer working with USDA Club Charlotte Independence U17 and U19 teams. Before joining the staff at Charlotte he was the Boys’ Director of Coaching for F.C. Carolina Alliance and was Associate Head Coach at Gardner-Webb University for four years.
Osborne played collegiate soccer at Stetson University from 2001 through 2004 where he was an All-Atlantic Sun selection for four seasons.
He graduated from Stetson with a degree in Business Administration and has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Gardner-Webb.
|Greg Dalby – Penn State – The 2020-2021 season was Dalby’s third as a member of the coaching staff at Penn State under head coach Jeff Cook. Dalby was promoted to Associate Head Coach in February 2020.
He has been a part of a Nittany Lion program that is coming off two banner seasons. In 2019 Penn State was 12-4-3 overall with a 6-1-1 mark in Big Ten play. They returned to the NCAA Tourney field for the first time since 2014 and were awarded the number 15 seed.
The trend line at Penn State continued upward during the 2020-2021 season with a 9-2-2 overall record and 6-1-1 mark in Big Ten play during which the Nittany Lions were nationally ranked and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
Dalby is involved in all aspects of the program at Penn State including recruiting, training sessions and player development. Before he came to Penn State he was the lead assistant coach at Davidson College and served as an assistant coach at Notre Dame.
Dalby played collegiate soccer at Notre Dame where he was a two-year team captain, First Team All-America selection, and two-time All-Big East First-Team member. He played professional soccer for seven years.
|Grant Porter – North Carolina – Porter completed his 10th season as an assistant coach at UNC under head coach Carlos Somoano in 2020.
North Carolina was 9-5-4 in the fall 2020 and spring 2021 seasons and advanced to the College Cup for the fifth time in the past ten seasons.
During the ten seasons that Porter has been on the coaching staff the Tar Heels have a 137-42-30 overall record. They have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament nine times and won the national championship in 2011.
Porter is involved in all aspects of the program ranging from travel plans to recruiting. He has helped the Tar Heels secure numerous highly regarded recruiting classes.
Before joining Somoano at North Carolina, Porter was the Director of Soccer for the Charlotte United Futbol Club from 2006-2010. Prior to that he served as an assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara in 2005 and was the head assistant coach for two seasons at Georgia State.
Porter played collegiate soccer for North Carolina where he was a four-year starter from 2000 to 2003 and a team captain his senior season. He has a bachelor’s degree from UNC in economics and a master’s degree in sport administration from Georgia State.
|Kevin Robson – Indiana – Robson has served as an assistant coach at Indiana under the guidance of head coach Todd Yeagley for seven seasons. During that period of time Indiana has posted a record of 102-21-28 and earned a seed each season in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hoosiers have won the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles for the past three seasons. They were awarded the number three seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the College Cup for the third time in the last four seasons. The Hoosiers advanced to the national championship game before concluding another banner season with a 13-2-1 overall record that included a 7-1-0 mark in Big Ten play.
Robson’s duties include recruiting, compliance, scouting opponents and team training. He played collegiate soccer for Indiana from 2003-2006 and was part of two teams that won NCAA titles.
Robson graduated from Indiana University in 2007 with a degree in communications and broadcasting.
|Mike Casper – Georgetown – Casper became a member of the coaching staff at Georgetown under head coach Brian Wiese in 2019. During 2019 the Hoyas concluded the season on a 17-game unbeaten streak establishing a new program record for wins with a 20-1-3 record to secure the program’s fist ever national championship.
Georgetown was 10-2-2 overall in the spring 2021 season during which they were awarded the number eight seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight.
Before joining the coaching staff at Georgetown, Casper served as an assistant coach for one year at Northwestern under veteran head coach Tim Lenahan and for three seasons at Notre Dame under then Irish head coach Bobby Clark. Prior to that he was the head coach at Saint Francis during which time the Red Flash were 71-61-21 overall.
Casper played collegiate soccer at UMBC for four seasons. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UMBC and a master’s degree in education leadership from Saint Francis.
He holds an A License from the United States Soccer Federation.