Liberty Head Men's Soccer Coach Jeff Alder announced today he is stepping down from his position and will transition into a new role with the Flames Club.
A national search for the fourth head coach in the history of the program will begin immediately.
Alder, a 1991 graduate of Liberty, will now serve on the Flames Club staff as the Director of Annual Giving. In his new role, Alder's primary focus will be to encourage all of Flames Nation – alumni, fans, former student-athletes, ticket buyers, parents, local businesses, Liberty University employees and more – to join the Flames Club team by making an annual gift to support Liberty Athletics.
Alder has been a part of Liberty's men's soccer program for the last 31 years, including his playing days on the pitch for the Flames (1987-90), as an assistant coach (1991-99) and the last 19 years as Liberty's head men's soccer coach (2000-18).
Alder finishes his coaching career with a 174-131-28 overall record, leading the Flames to a pair of Big South Men's Soccer Championship titles and NCAA Tournament appearances (2007 and 2011).
The Flames posted 10 or more wins in eight of their last 12 seasons, including five consecutive 10-plus win seasons (2007-11) for the first time in program history. The run of double-digit wins began with a 13-5-2 record, the most victories in a season during his tenure, as the Flames captured their first-ever Big South title in 2007.
Alder captured his 100th coaching win on Sept. 13, 2011, with a 2-0 victory over No. 10 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. In 2018, Alder led the Flames during their first season as a member of the ASUN Conference. Liberty qualified for the ASUN Men's Soccer Tournament and was ranked in the top 10 of the Atlantic Region five out of 12 weeks, including the last four weeks of the year.
Alder saw 23 of his players move on to the professional ranks, with Sachem Wilson becoming the first Liberty player to ever play in the Europa League. Wilson made his debut in the June 2016 as a member of ND Gorcia. In addition, Alder saw midfielder Joshua Boateng taken in the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) Super Draft and seven others picked in the MLS Supplemental Draft.
Alder saw several of his players earn prestigious honors during his tenure. In 2008, Boateng was listed on the Hermann Trophy watch list throughout the season and became the program's first Division I All-American. In 2002, Darryl Roberts, the program's all-time point leader, became Liberty's first Freshman All-American.
Roberts and defender Osei Telesford went on to play for their country's national team, Trinidad and Tobago in 2006.
In addition, junior forward Tresor Mbuyu became the first Liberty player to be named the Big South Attacking Player of the Year in 2016 and the second Flame in program history to be selected as a Big South Player of the Year. Mbuyu led the Big South with 29 points and tied for the conference lead with 10 goals. He finished the year second in the conference with nine assists.
Off the field, Alder's teams made their mark in the classroom, as well. The men's soccer team was recognized by the NCAA with a Public Recognition Award in 2012 and 2013. The award honors teams for their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores, and are given each year to teams with APRs in the top 10 percent of their sport. Also, Alder had two of his players named CoSIDA Academic All-America® teams in midfielder Phillip Aseweh in 2011 and defender Michael Gelatt in 2007 and 2008. The Flames also were honored with a NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 2013-14 academic year.
Alder spent nine years as an assistant and four seasons as a player for 21-year head coach Bill Bell, before taking over as the program's third head coach. Alder also spent six years as the Director of Academics for Athletics, giving him more than three decades on Liberty Mountain.
During Alder's 19 years at the helm of the men's soccer program, the Flames not only captured their first two Big South Conference titles in school history (2007 & 2011), but they also recorded a top-three finish in the conference's regular-season standings nine times.
Liberty finished first (2001) in the Big South regular-season standings once, placed second (2003, 2004, 2007) three times and completed conference play third (2002, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012) five times during his tenure. The Flames also played in the Big South Championship title game five times under Alder, reaching the title contest in 2001, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Alder received his bachelor's degree in business management from Liberty in 1991. While playing at Liberty, he was a four-year starter on the men's soccer team.
In his first season as a Flame, Alder earned the 1987 Most Promising Freshman Award. He was also named all-conference in 1987 and was given the Coaches Award and made the Dean's List in 1989. During his final three seasons with the Flames, Liberty posted three straight winning seasons, including a 12-2-2 record in his senior year.
Alder and his wife Lori reside in the Lynchburg area. The couple has two children, son Chandler, who recently graduated from Liberty, and daughter Grayson.
Ian McCaw, Liberty University Director of Athletics "We are grateful for Coach Alder's Christ-centered leadership of the men's soccer program for the last 19 years. Jeff is beloved in the local community and throughout Flames Nation. His passion for Liberty Athletics and exceptional relational skills make him ideally suited for this role."
Bob Good, Associate AD for Development/Executive Director of the Flames Club "We are extremely pleased and excited to add a person of Jeff Alder's caliber to the Flames Club team. Jeff's outstanding people skills, passion for Liberty Athletics and outstanding reputation in the Liberty community make him uniquely qualified for this opportunity, and we look forward to having him help us continue to increase support for the Flames Club."
Jeff Alder, former head coach and Flames Club Director of Annual Giving "It has been a privilege and honor to represent my God and my University through the men's soccer program for the last 31 years. I spent four years as a student-athlete and 27 wonderful years on staff as a coach and an administrator.
I would like to thank the administration and my staff Jose Gomez, AJ Madero, Dan Preusser and Clay Copeland for their continued support of me and my family during our time together. They have come along side us through my daughter, Grayson, and her severe immune system deficiency diagnosis and battle through the 16 years of her monthly infusions she requires to live and helping us through my wife Lori's cancer journey the last three years.
I would like to thank all of the soccer families that have entrusted me with their most prized possessions, their sons. My heart's desire each day was to invest my life into the lives of each guy that God had sent us and help them grow to their full potential as people first and players second. Each year, Lori and I adopt 26-28 young men and they become a part of the Alder family for life as we try to become an extension of their families during our time together.
We will miss the relationships with the players and our ability to speak the truth in love to them on their daily walk through their time at Liberty University. We will hold a special place in our hearts and cherish the relationships built, fostered and forged over the 27 years.
I'm excited to announce that God has opened a door and an opportunity to join our Athletics' administration and will become a member of the Flames Club Team. I will be retiring from coaching and will be serving God and our University in a different role effective immediately.
My family and I are blessed beyond words by Liberty University and the impact they have had on our lives for the last 31 years. We look forward to this new chapter in our lives and truly believe that All things work together for good for those who love God and to those who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)!"
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