Coaching Staff

 

Jeff Kinney
Head Coach | University of Alabama at Birmingham

Jeff Kinney was named the fifthth Head Coach in UAB men’s soccer program history in the winter of 2018 after serving 9 seasons as the assistant coach at Virginia Tech.

Known for his keen ability to develop players, while at Virginia Tech, Kinney worked tirelessly to rebuild the Hokies’ program after significant recruiting restrictions hampered the program prior to his arrival. During his Tech career, Kinney was directly responsible for all aspects of the program including; recruiting, match analysis, training sessions and scheduling.

Before his time at Tech, Kinney was deeply involved in the club soccer scene in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, coaching numerous players who went on to the professional ranks such as Bill Hamid (DC United), Andy Najar (Anderlecht), Ethan White (DC United), Colin Martin (DC United) just to name a few.  During his time with DC United, the youth program saw success at a scale never seen before going 26-6-5.

In his tenure in Blacksburg, Kinney developed six All-ACC selections and has seen three players from the program drafted by MLS; Devante Dubose (2014), Juan Pablo Saavedra (2017) and first round selection Ben Lundgaard (2018).

A 2003 graduate of American University where he featured on the Eagles’ back-to-back NCAA tournament teams in 2001 and 2002, Kinney was honored as a two-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll member and an Academic All-American.

Kinney is married to the former Kimberly Pardo and the couple has two twin boys, Finnley and Bennett

 

Joel Wallace
Assistant Coach | 
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Joel Wallace is in the ninth season of his second stint as an assistant coach for the UAB men’s soccer team. He returned to Birmingham in 2009 after an 11-year stay at Westminster.

Wallace specializes in working with goalkeepers, a role that he has held in both stints under Getman at UAB.

Boasting more than 20 years of collegiate coaching experience, Wallace was the head men’s soccer coach at Westminster from 1998-2008.  He left Westminster as the winningest coach in school history compiling a record of 105-85-16. He guided the Blue Jays to their first conference title in soccer and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002. Including his one year spent as head coach at MacMurray (Mo.) College, Wallace has a career record of 121-91-17 during his 12-year tenure.

Wallace has spent time as an assistant coach for the UAB women’s soccer team (2005-08), UAB men’s soccer team (1994-95), MacMurray (1992-94) and Connecticut (1996).

A graduate of MacMurray College, Wallace earned first-team all-conference and all-region honors as a goalkeeper. During his playing days (1988-91) he helped lead MacMurray to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 (1990) and Elite Eight (1991). He is a two-time winner of the Prairie College Conference Most Valuable Player (1989 and 1990). Wallace still holds several school record including most career shutouts (40), most shutouts in a season (19) and most consecutive shutout (7). His 18 shutouts in 1991 is an NCAA Division III Record.

Wallace has two children: Ryli and Kevin. Kevin is a sophomore on the UAB men’s soccer team.

 

Kris Hazard
Assistant Coach | 
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Chris Hazard is in his first season with the men's soccer program.

Hazard comes to Birmingham after having spent the previous 10 seasons at American University in Washington D.C.

In his tenure at American, Hazard helped the Eagles to some of the best seasons in program history, including spending the majority of the 2014 season in the top-20 in the nation with a win over then No. 1 UCLA. The success continued into the 2015 campaign as American defeated the defending national champions in Virginia and had a 14-5-3 record, breaking the school’s shutout streak en route to being named the 2015 Northeast Regions Assistant Coach of the Year.

Hazard played an instrumental role in the Eagles’ three Patriot League Regular Season Championships in 2008, 2011 and 2016 and in their three consecutive trips to the Patriot League Tournament Championship Game.

Prior to his time at American, Hazard coached at Tri-State for two seasons in 2006 and 2007. Additionally, he spent four seasons at Wittenberg University, beginning as an assistant coach in 2002 before transitioning into the Associate Head Coach role for the 2005 season.

Hazard earned his undergraduate degree from Wittenberg in Speech/English where he was an All NCAC All-Conference Selection for the Tigers in 1991 while also serving as the team captain.

Hazard is also a published author, writing a book entitled Hazard of the Game: The Dangers of Over-Parenting in Sport and Life.

 

Mark Ward
Volunteer Assistant Coach | 
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Mark Ward enters his first year as the volunteer assistant coach at UAB in 2019.

Ward comes to UAB after spending two seasons as an assistant at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala.

Prior to his stint at Huntingdon, he served as an assistant at Greenville University in Greenville, Ill. from 2015-17. While at Greenville Ward helped guide his student athletes to a team GPA of 3.4.

He spent the 2014-15 season as a volunteer assistant at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill.

Ward is a graduate of Greenville University where he received his bachelor’s degree in recreation sports management in 2014.

 

Bruce Dietterle
Head Coach | University of Montevallo

Bruce Dietterle is entering his seventh season as the Head Coach of the University of Montevallo men's soccer team after being named the program's fourth full-time Head Coach in June 2013.

In his first year at the helm, Dietterle maintained the program's high level of success, leading the Falcons to their second straight Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship. Brendan Ledgeway, Ricky Davey, and Gary O'Neill were all named first team All-Conference and All-Region under Dietterle.

On top of coaching duties, Dietterle guides the program in all manners of recruiting, weight program design and applicaiton, as well as compliance, program development, academic monitoring, scheduling, and budgeting.

Dietterle rejoined the University of Montevallo men’s soccer coaching staff in February 2013 after spending one season as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I Stetson University.

Dietterle previously served a two-year stint as an assistant coach with the Falcons, helping lead Montevallo to a 30-7-6 record during 2010 and 2011 seasons, which included the program's first Peach Belt Conference tournament championship.

Dietterle coached 10 All-Peach Belt Conference players, five NCAA Division II All-Southeast Region honorees, and one NCAA Division II All-American.  Dietterle also coached 10 NCAA Division II Scholar All-Southeast Region players and a NCAA Division II Scholar All-American.  The Montevallo squads earned NSCAA NCAA Division II Team Scholar accolades both seasons that Dietterle was on the staff.

Three of Dietterle's players, Nathaniel Foster (Montevallo), Pierre Omanga (Montevallo) and Jonathon Mendoza (Stetson), are currently playing professional soccer.

Before coaching at Montevallo, Dietterle was an assistant coach at NCAA Division II Pfeiffer University for three seasons.

Dietterle helped lead Pfeiffer to three consecutive Conference Carolinas tournament appearances. He helped coach nine All-Conference Carolinas players, five that were named NCAA Division II All-Southeast Region and one that was heralded as an NCAA Division II All-American. In his last season, he helped coach Pfeiffer to the fourth-ranked offense in Division II.

Dietterle began as coach and site director with the Seacoast United Soccer Club in Hampton, New Hampshire in 2004 and did not give up that position until 2009. He added to that a two-year stint as a volunteer with Newmarket Junior/Senior High School from 2007-2008. In the summers, he added to his growing soccer resume by coaching at summer camps at the University of New Hampshire from 2007-2009.

Since November 2009, he has been an assistant coach with the North Carolina Olympic Development Program and helped the team to a third place finish at the U.S. Nationals. Since August 2009, he has also been a youth coach with FC Carolina Alliance, a soccer club in Harrisburg North Carolina. Dietterle has also coached in the Alabama Olympic Development Program.

A four-year letter winner at Saint Anselm College during his playing days, Dietterle graduated from Saint Anselm College in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. He also holds a NSCAA National Coaching Diploma and a USSF C Coaching License.

 

Trey Gregory
Assistant Coach | University of Montevallo

Trey Gregory is entering his third season as an assistant coach for the University of Montevallo men's soccer program.

Gregory joined the Falcons after spending one year as the assistant coach for the women's soccer program at Bethany College, a NAIA institution in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Prior to his position at Bethany, Gregory spent two years at Vestavia Hills Soccer Club, where he was the head coach of the Under-11 girls' and Under-14 girls' club soccer teams. Gregory also spent two years at Hoover Soccer Club coaching the Under-12 girls' and Under-13 girls' club soccer teams, as well as the Under-15 boys' club soccer team.

Gregory also served as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) men's soccer team for one season and was the head coach of the undefeated Oak Mountain High School boys' freshmen team in 2012.

Gregory, who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, played club soccer for the American Soccer Club and played at Oak Mountain High school before playing collegiately at UAB.

During his playing career at UAB, Gregory was named to Conference USA's All-Tournament team in 2006, was named a second team All-Conference USA selection in 2007 and was selected as a third team All-Conference USA pick during his senior season in 2008.

Gregory also played semi-professionally for the United Soccer League's Panama City Pirates in the Premier Development League in 2007.

Gregory received a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy with a minor in History from UAB in 2010.

 

Corey Smith
Assistant Coach | Birmingham-Southern College

Former Birmingham-Southern Panther, Corey Smith, was named assistant men’s soccer coach effective May 1, 2019.

Smith played on the Hilltop from 2013-2017. In his senior year, after suffering his fourth ACL tear, he served in a Student Assistant Coach capacity. His ability to overcome adversity earned Smith the Laura Malone Courage Award his senior year. After graduation, he continued to remain close to the Program, serving as Volunteer Assistant Coach in the 2018 season. He also serves as a staff coach at Vestavia Hills Soccer Club, where he grew up playing and is an assistant coach with the Vestavia High School boys’ program.

A native of Ranburne, Ala., Corey graduated Ranburne High School as valedictorian of his class. Smith graduated from BSC in 2017 with a psychology degree. In his time as a student, he became President of the Honor Council and graduated as an Honor Graduate. He graduated Cum Laude and as a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Psi Chi (International Psychology Honor Society), and Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honor Society). He was named to the Dean’s list multiple semesters.

 

Chris Leonardi
Head Coach | Martin Methodist College

Chris Leonardi is entering his sixth season as the MMC head men’s soccer coach with a 47-35-9 record. In 2013, Leonardi was the assistant at MMC where he helped lead the RedHawks to a record-breaking 19-2-2 season that culminated in the program’s first-ever NAIA men’s national championship in school history.

Prior to joining MMC, Leonardi was the boys and girls soccer coach at the University School of Jackson. With the girls, Leonardi tallied a 227-57-16 overall record and won 2 state titles in 2010 and 2011. In 13 years, the girls made 3 championship appearances, 5 final four appearances, 8 state tournament appearances, and won 9 region titles and 5 district titles. Leonardi was voted NSCAA Regional Coach of the year (private/parochial, high school girls) in 2011. With the boys, Leonardi tallied a 204-78-17 overall record. In 12 years, the boys made 2 final four appearances, 4 state tournament appearances, and won 6 region titles and 8 district titles.

Leonardi is part of US Soccer Region III staff, a TN ODP staff and a coaching instructor for Tennessee State Soccer Association.  Leonardi currently holds the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “A” License, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Premier Diploma, and the NCSAA Goalkeeper Level 1 License.

A 1998 graduate of Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, he earned a B.S. in Physical Education and Health. During his playing career with the Eagles, Lambuth captured one TCAC Conference Championship and two Mid-South Conference Championships.

Hailing from Nice, France, Leonardi moved to the United States at the age of 16 to attend high school in Jackson, Tennessee. He currently resides in Pulaski, TN, and has a daughter named Lola.

 

Bret Boylan
Assistant Coach | Martin Methodist College

Bret Boylan was introduced in July 2014 as the newest RedHawk Men’s Soccer assistant coach.

Boylan, joins the RedHawks after spending the last three years working with the University School of Jackson’s high school and middle school boys and girls soccer programs. While at USJ, Boylan served as head coach of the Bruins and Lady Bruins middle school program, where he amassed an impressive 86-10 combined record between the two programs.

In addition to his middle school duties, Boylan also served as assistant coach with the USJ girls varsity squad, making three consecutive trips to at least the TSSAA state tournament quarterfinals. In Boylan’s first year as an assistant, the Lady Bruins claimed the 2011 TSSAA Division II-A state title and finished runner-up in 2013.

Prior to his arrival at USJ, Boylan was a four-year soccer player at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee. While at Lambuth, Boylan was a two-time All-Conference performer and was a member of the team’s only trip to the NAIA national tournament. In addition to his soccer career, Boylan also played one year of basketball for the Eagles.

Boylan graduated from Lambuth in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Performance.

While at Martin Methodist, Boylan will serve as the RedHawks junior varsity head coach as well as assisting head coach Chris Leonardi with day-to-day varsity duties, including recruiting, training and match preparation.

“We are excited to welcome Bret to our RedHawk family,” Leonardi said. “I have worked closely with him over the last few years at various levels and our previous chemistry made him a natural choice for this position. I am confident he is the right man to help lead our program.”

In his spare time, Boylan enjoys watching soccer, running and playing golf.

Boylan currently resides in Pulaski.

 

Josh McReynolds
Head Coach | Louisiana State University - Eunice

Josh McReynolds begins his second year as the men's soccer head coach.  McReynolds was named the first head coach in program history in March 2018.

In his first year at the helm, the Bengals captured the Region 23 Championship after sporting an 8-3-3 record including a win over a Top 25 NJCAA team.  LSUE fielding a pair of All-Region selections in their first year on campus.

The Zachary, La. native came to LSU Eunice after serving three years (2015-2018) as head coach of Catholic High-Baton Rouge's soccer team and the Baton Rouge Soccer Club's Recreational Director.

In 2015, McReynolds was named both the head coach of Catholic High-Baton Rouge and Baton Rouge Soccer Club's Recreational Director.  At CHS, McReynolds helped the Bears to a 42-18-9 record in three seasons including a 2017 Division I State Championship game appearance.  He was named the 2016 Division I Coach of the Year after leading Catholic-BR to the state semifinals in his first season.

In addition to his role as BRSC's Recreational Director, McReynolds enjoyed success on both the boys' and girls' sides as a head coach in the club ranks.  He guided the 2003 Girls and 2004 Boys teams to a 2017 Louisiana State Championship.  McReynolds also served as the Age Group Director for the 2005 and 2003 Boys Competitive Teams with the 2003 Boys team ranked first in the Southern Regional Premiere League.

McReynolds also currently serves as a member of the Olympic Developmental Program Region III coaching staff and also spent time as the Director of Operations for the Baton Rouge Soccer Club.

McReynolds played collegiately at Freed-Hardeman University (NAIA) and holds a USSF National B License, National Youth License, NSCAA National Goalkeeping Diploma and the NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.

After his playing career was over, McReynolds joined Albion College in Michigan as an assistant coach for one season.  He then came back to Louisiana to serve as Graduate Assistant and Director of Soccer Operation for the LSU women's soccer team while pursuing his Masters of Business Administration.

McReynolds graduated in December 2014 with his MBA from the LSU Flores MBA Program where he received the Ben Brown Award for outstanding leadership and commitment to improving the overall program experience.

In addition to his duties as men's head coach, McReynolds serves as the assistant coach of the women's team.

 

Matt Cooper
Head Coach | Huntingdon College


Matt Cooper was hired as Huntingdon’s head men’s soccer coach in June 2015.

In his first season, Cooper led Huntingdon to its first appearance in the USA South Athletic Conference Tournament. His Huntingdon teams have produced two All-Conference selections and 26 Academic All-Conference selections.

Before Huntingdon, Cooper spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at the Division III level. From 2006-2014, Cooper served as an assistant at Hampden-Sydney College. Working under head coach Josh Laux, the Tigers’ all-time winningest coach, Cooper was a part of 91 wins during those nine seasons, seven winning seasons and a school-record 16 win-season in 2009. 

A 2006 graduate of Randolph-Macon College, Cooper comes to Huntingdon after a short stint at his alma mater. He was hired as an assistant at Randolph-Macon in the spring of 2015 when Laux, also a Randolph-Macon graduate, left Hampden-Sydney to become the Yellow Jackets’ head coach.

As a player, Cooper was a four-year starter for Randolph-Macon. He was a three-time All-Conference selection in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, two-time Regional All-American and a two-time Virginia Sports Information Director’s All-State selection.

Cooper and his wife Anne have a son, Heath Ryan Cooper, who was born Aug. 4, 2014.

 

Codi Crippen
Assistant Coach | Thomas University

Codi Crippen enters his second season as an assistant coach with the men's soccer team at Thomas University in 2018.

Prior to joining the Night Hawks, Crippen spent three seasons as the men's soccer goalkeepers coach while assisting with recruiting and scouting reports at Huntingdon (Ala.) College, helping guide the squad to one conference tournament appearance. In three seasons, Crippen's netminders earned four USA South Player of the Week awards.

Prior to his time with Huntingdon, Crippen spent two seasons as a graduate assistant with the women’s soccer program at Bethel (Tenn.) University from 2012-13. He also served as a men's soccer volunteer assistant at his alma mater, the University of Rio Grande (Ohio), for two seasons (2010-12).

Crippen holds United States Soccer Federation National C and D licenses along with NSCAA Goalkeeping 1 and 2 licenses.

As a player, Crippen spent four seasons with Rio Grande from 2006-10 and helped guide the program to a 69-13-8 overall record, two Region IX titles, two appearances in the NAIA National Championship Round of 16 and a National Runner-Up appearance in 2008.

A native of Zanesville, Ohio, Crippen earned a Bachelor of Science in sport and exercise studies from Rio Grande in 2011, a Bachelor of Science in physical education from Rio Grande in 2012 and a Master of Education from Bethel in 2014.

 

Matthew Thorne 
Head Coach | Auburn University at Montgomery

On Thursday, December 27, 2018, Auburn University at Montgomery Director of Athletics Jessie Rosa named Matthew Thorne the sixth head coach of the men’s soccer program at AUM. Thorne, the 2017 Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year, comes to Montgomery from the University of West Alabama in Livingston, Ala., where he began the men’s program in 2012.
 
“Firstly, I would like to thank Chancellor Carl Stockton, Director of Athletics Jessie Rosa and the search committee for giving me the opportunity to coach at Auburn Montgomery again,” said Thorne. “As AUM is my alma mater it has always been a dream to one day come back and coach here. Men’s soccer has a tremendous winning tradition from the NAIA-era, now we hope to be very successful in the NCAA and push AUM on a national level.”
 
Thorne has amassed a career record 87-49-12 as a Head Coach. As the gaffer of UWA men’s soccer, Thorne went 78-43-9, going 48-23-4 in league play. The Tigers won the GSC Tournament Championship four years in a row from 2014-2017, while also winning the regular season championship in 2015 and 2017. In 2017 UWA reached the Third Round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament for the first time in program history while compiling a 16-3-1 record.
 
The Warhawks finished 9-6-3 in 2019, adding six wins from the previous season. Thorne received Gulf South Conference Co-Coach of the Years honors for leading the Orange and Black to a second-place regular-season finish, while posting a conference record of 6-2-3. Under Thorne's tutelage, the Warhawks earned 21 points in league play, and the rights to host a home playoff match as the number-two seed in the GSC Men's Soccer Quarterfinals in their first season of full-fledged membership in NCAA Division II.  Alexander Wagner (1st Team), Arnaud Baron (2nd Team) and Thomas Carlile (2nd) were tabbed the program's first ever All-GSC selections under Thorne's guidance.  Defensively, the Warhawk surrendered 17 fewer goals than in the 2018 season, while allowing their opponents to score just 1.11 goals per match. The Warhawks won six straight matches from Sept. 15 through Oct. 6, and went unbeaten in nine straight matches from Sept. 15 through Oct. 22. 
 
In seven seasons with the Tigers have claimed GSC Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons with Thibault Charmey earning the accolade in 2013 and 2014. UWA has had 10 players named to the All-GSC teams, four named All-South Region and one Capital One All-American in 2016 and 2017. In addition, this past season saw Ali Brador named to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Men's Scholar All-America Team Third Team.
 
After the 2018 season Thorne coached the Birmingham Hammers of the fourth-division of the United Soccer League, leading the squad to its most wins in a season in team history.
 
Thorne began his coaching career at AUM in 2007 as a graduate assistant coach under former head coach Wulf Koch, graduating in 2009 with a Master of Business Administration degree. 
 
In his first season with the then-Senators AUM won the NAIA Region XIII Championship, reaching the NAIA National Tournament Final Four. After three seasons with AUM Thorne became an assistant coach with Huntingdon College from 2009-2011, before becoming the first head coach in UWA history in August of 2011.
 
Thorne is a 2007 graduate from Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn. with a B.S. in Business and Sport Management, where he played four seasons for the Redhawks. During Thorne’s time at MMC, he helped the team achieve a Trans-South regular season and tournament championship in 2004. Thorne was a three-time all-Trans-South Team selection while garnering all-region and all-American accolades in 2006.
 
Following his collegiate career, Thorne played with the Palm Beach Pumas in the Professional Development League in the summer of 2006 and played with the semi-professional Icelandic second division team IH Hafnarfjordur in 2008.
 
Since 2007, Thorne has been a part of the Alabama Olympic Development Program. He also has a USSF National A coaching license to go along with a Level 1 and Level 2 Football Association of Ireland Coaching Badge. A native of Rush, County Dublin, Ireland, Thorne came through the prestigious College Prep program Colaiste Ide where he received “Achiever of the Year” in 2003. 
 
Thorne and his wife Ashley have three daughters, Saoirse, Niamh and Ciara.
 

Ross Nelson
Head Coach | The University of West Alabama

Ross Nelson was named head coach for men’s soccer at the University of West Alabama on January 28, 2019.

“Words simply cannot describe the gratitude that I am feeling at this moment in time,” Nelson said. “I honestly am extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to lead this great program.

“I would like to personally thank our Athletic Director Bobby Wallace and all the administration for putting their faith in me,” Nelson said. “There is a history of much success within UWA men’s soccer and I plan to continue this and consistently compete at the national level.”

Nelson served the last three seasons as assistant coach to Matthew Thorne, who recently left West Alabama to assume the head coaching position for men’s soccer at Auburn-Montgomery.

“Ross has played an integral part of our success over the last three years,” Wallace said. “After reviewing the credentials of several good applicants, we believe the best way to continue the success we have enjoyed was to promote Ross and give him the opportunity to continue to make us better.”

Nelson helped guide UWA to Gulf South Conference championships in 2016 and 2017, including both regular season and tournament championships in 2017. Over his three seasons as an assistant to Thorne, UWA compiled a 34-17-5 record with postseason appearances in each of those years.

“Ross has been an essential component to the men’s soccer program’s preparation, strength and conditioning, scouting and recruiting since coming on board at West Alabama,” Wallace said. “We are certain he is ready to take on a bigger role and be successful.”

Prior to coming to West Alabama, Nelson served on the coaching staff at Tennessee Wesleyan, where he was also an all-conference player and team captain while leading the Bulldogs to an Appalachian Athletic Conference regular season title in 2013.

Nelson was also an all-conference performer and captain in junior college at Georgia Perimeter. He has also played semi-pro for Ballymena United Football Club in Northern Ireland.

Coming to the United States after finishing high school at Larne in Northern Ireland, Nelson has earned an AS Degree in exercise science from Georgia Perimeter, a BS in Exercise Science from Tennessee Wesleyan and a MS in Physical Education from West Alabama.

Nelson and his wife Louise reside in Livingston.