The Liberty men's soccer program has firmly entrenched itself among the elite of the Big South Conference and achieved new heights during Jeff Alder's tenure at his alma mater. In 2001, Alder took over a program which had been a consistent winner and built it into a perennial contender for the Big South Conference title. During his tenure, the Flames have won the program's only two Big South championships, earning Liberty's inclusion in the NCAA Tournament field.
Alder's Flames have posted 10 or more wins in seven of their last nine seasons, including five consecutive 10-plus win seasons (2007-2011) 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.
The Liberty alum captured his 100th coaching win in 2011 with a 2-0 victory over No. 10 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Sept. 13.
Alder has seen 23 of his players move on to the professional ranks, with Sachem Wilson becoming the first Liberty player to ever Europa League this past June as a member of ND Gorcia. In addition, Alder has seen midfielder Joshua Boateng taken in the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) Super Draft and seven others picked in the MLS Supplemental Draft.
Alder has seen 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 points leader, became Liberty's first Freshman All-American.
Alder would see Roberts and defender Osei Telesford go on to play for their country's national team, Trinidad and Tobago in 2006.
Off the field, Alder's program continues to make its 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 has had two of his players named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans 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, a long-time fixture on the Liberty campus, enters his 16th season as the head coach of the Liberty men's soccer program. He 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 in 2001. Alder also spent six years as the Director of Academics for Athletics, giving him more than 25 years on Liberty Mountain.
During Alder's previous 15 years at the helm of the men's soccer program, the Flames have not only captured their first two Big South Conference titles in school history (2007 & 2011), but have recorded a top-three finish in the conference's regular-season standings nine times. Liberty has 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 have also played in the Big South Championship title game five times under Alder, reaching the title contest in 2001, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Student-athletes under Alder have combined to earn one All-American honor, two Freshman All-American awards, three Capital One Academic All-America accolades, 18 all-region recognitions, three Big South Freshman of the Year awards and 54 all-conference selections, including 27 first-team members.
Alder has also been a key factor behind the growing visibility of the Liberty soccer program, both regionally and nationally. For five consecutive years (2008-12), the Flames were listed among the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) South Atlantic Region poll for several weeks and once again, appeared in the poll in 2014. During Liberty's 2007 Big South Championship season, the Flames were ranked every week among the top teams in the poll.
In addition, the Flames have traditionally played several highly-ranked programs each season, including 2012, when they defeated No. 10 Virginia, 2-0, in Charlottesville and No. 9 Coastal Carolina, 2-1, in the Big South semifinals.
Alder was a driving force behind the Liberty campus' Thomas Indoor Soccer Center, which opened in the spring of 2009. He also played an integral part in helping to obtain a new home for both Liberty soccer and the track and field programs, Osborne Stadium and the Luurtsema Center, which was completed in August of 2010.
Since 2007, the Liberty alum has guided his team to four Big South Conference title games. In its most recent trip to the conference final, Alder rallied his Liberty squad from a slow start early in the year to advance the 2013 Big South title game. The Flames became the first No. 7 seed to play for the conference title since 1992. Liberty shut out No. 2 seed High Point (1-0) and No. 3 Longwood to earn a place in the Big South title contest.
Alder led Liberty to its second Big South title in four years in 2011. The Flames posted an 11-6-3 overall record and failed to advance on penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Liberty went 4-0-2 over its last six games to capture the Big South crown and an NCAA Tournament bid. In addition, Darren Amoo finished his Liberty career by setting a new school record with 37 career goals. The forward was one of five Flames from the team to join the professional ranks at the close of the season.
Alder directed Liberty to a 12-5-3 record and an appearance in the Big South Championship title game in 2009. The Flames finished the year ranked fifth in the country in scoring offense, with a 2.15 goals per game average, and were seventh nationally in team goals against average, with a 0.53 GAA. The Flames also tied the program record for shutouts with 12.
For the first time in program history, Alder saw his squad capture the Big South title and move on to the NCAA Tournament in 2007. The Flames recorded the second-highest win total in school history with a 13-5-2 mark. Defense was one of the keys to Liberty's success, as the Flames posted nine shutouts, allowing only one goal in seven home games during the season.
In Alder's first season as head coach, the Flames finished the regular season tied for first place in the Big South with a 5-2 league record and reached the title game of the Big South Championship.
In addition to serving as an assistant coach, Alder spent six years as the Director of Academics for Athletics (1996-2002), supervising the overall athletic academic support program for all of Liberty's student-athletes.
Alder acquired coaching experience under the direction of Bruce Arena and George Gelnovatch at the University of Virginia Camp of Champions. He also coached at the state and district levels for the Virginia Olympic Development program and served under Gelnovatch as a guest evaluator with the U.S. Under-18 National Team. Alder attended the United States National Team Camp as a guest of coach Bruce Arena, prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
He holds a NSCAA National Coaching Diploma, a NSCAA Advanced National Diploma with Distinction and a NSCAA Premier Diploma. Alder served as a site supervisor for the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament from 2003-2010 and in 2012. He is also a member of the NCAA South Atlantic Regional Advisory Committee. He was also a voting member for the NSCAA Top 25 College Rankings from 2005-07.
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 is currently a student at Liberty and daughter Grayson.