New soccer coach Adam Pfeifer hopes to continue team’s success

Pfeifer_copyAfter 10 years under the same coach, men’s soccer is under new leadership with coach Adam Pfeifer.

The announcement of his hiring by Norwich University Director of Athletics Tony Mariano on March 11 comes several months after coach Kyle Dezotell departed for Manhattanville in January.

Pfeifer will become the 10th head coach in program history, following Dezotell’s 10-year reign. “I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to lead the Norwich men’s soccer program,” said Pfeifer. “Very few coaches have the privilege to take over a program that has such a solid foundation; I am grateful to coach Dezotell and his staff for the work they have done.”

Pfeifer comes to Norwich after serving two years as assistant coach for Middlebury College under legendary head coach David Saward. He also served as the associate head coach at Northeastern University for eight seasons prior to being an assistant with Middlebury College.

“I want to thank Tony Mariano and the entire athletic department staff for believing in me and giving me this great opportunity,” said Pfeifer. “I also want to thank the coaches that have given me opportunities in college soccer, Brian Ainscough, Dave Saward, and my college coach Ed Kelly. They have all played a major role in cultivating my love for the game and helping me develop as a person and a coach.”

Pfeifer helped lead Northeastern to a 68-60-26 record in eight seasons. He also helped tutor 41 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) All-Conference and All-Rookie selections during his tenure.

In 2012, the Huskies won the CAA Tournament title, advanced to the NCAA tournament second round and garnered a top 25 NSCAA Ranking. That same year Northeastern boasted the league Coach of the Year, Player of the Year, Defender of the Year and also had its first player ever selected as a NSCAA All-American.

“I am extremely excited to have Adam Pfeifer on our staff as our new head men’s soccer coach,” said Mariano. “He comes to us with a wealth of experience as a player and coach and I look forward to our continued soccer success under Adam’s leadership.”

Playing collegiately at Boston College, Pfeifer graduated in 2003, and finished in the top 20 on the school’s all-time points list and top 10 on the all time assists list. While at BC, Pfeifer was a four-year starter, leading the Eagles to two Big East Tournament titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances. He led the team in assists as a freshman and a senior and also led the team in goals and points as a sophomore.

He was also a high school standout at Newton North High School in Newton, Mass., earning NSCAA All-American honors as a senior, the first male player in school history to earn the honor. He was also the NSCAA Massachusetts Player of the Year and Gatorade Massachusetts player of the year in 1999.

“When Coach Pfeifer first came into the room where all the players were going to interview him we all knew how decorated a player and coach he was,” said Moab Scheirs a senior Midfielder.

After moving to Vermont in 2014, Pfeifer has most recently served as the Director of Operations for the Nordic Soccer Club in Burlington, Vt. He managed the week-to-week coordination of 30 teams and 380 players for practice and games.

Pfeifer takes over a Norwich program that has made the GNAC Tournament Semifinals in 12 straight seasons, including winning it in 2008.

The Cadets are coming off a 12-8-1 season with an ECAC New England Tournament appearance. The Cadets are eager to get back to work and return to the NCAA Tournament, and ultimately win the GNAC championship, which has been won three times in a row by Johnson and Wales University.

“As a team, we felt that we needed a new perspective added to the program considering we haven’t won a GNAC championship in several years. I have high standards and hopes for our new coach and strongly believe that he is going to get us to our goal,” said freshman Midfielder Matt Mazzola.

During the stressful time of picking the next head coach, the players had the chance to interview the candidates for the job.

After the interview of Pfeifer, the team all agreed by the end of the interview he was the one for the job.

“When we first interviewed him, he had a cool and calm feeling to him and immediately relaxed all the guys in the room,” said Scheirs. “ I am very excited to start this year with him as head coach.”

Many players did their own research on the candidates to see how they were personally and called their club coaches or anyone who knew them. The team wanted a different approach to see what type of person the coach really was, rather than focusing specifically on what his coaching style was.

“After the interview with Adam Pfeifer, I called my club soccer coach to see if he liked him and what his personality was like, and all he had to say was excellent things about him. One of the things that struck me and stood out to me is that he said he was a family man and would take excellent care of his players,” said Ethan Melia, a freshman striker.

The team knew right off the bat that Coach Pfeifer was an outgoing, family guy and that his calm and collected personality reflects his coaching style.

The men’s soccer team will be gaining first-hand experience with Pfeifer during the spring season when there is a month of training during April.

“The transition from an assistant coach to the head coach position, I can imagine, is both uncomfortable and stressful, especially if you’re coming to a new school. However, it is clear that it does not affect Coach Pfiefer so far in our training sessions, and getting to know his players is certainly not a problem,” said Mazzola.

With a few scrimmages this spring, it will certainly help coach Pfeifer early to see what the players have and allow players to see what the coach is like during the games.

For the seniors’ last year, they would certainly like to show what the team has and give it one last chance to get to the NCAA Tournament, and they believe coach Pfeifer is the man to get them there.

“He is outgoing and not afraid to speak his mind. Talking to him one-on-one about what he expects from the team and myself, I am confident that he will lead us to our goal of getting to the NCAA tournament,” said Scheirs.

The Norwich Cadets will open the 2016 season at Oswego State Tournament on Sept. 2-3, taking on New Paltz State and SUNY Canton.

“I am excited to get to work with the great student athletes of the men’s soccer team at Norwich,” said Pfeifer. “I believe that we can provide each young man in our program with a fulfilling, successful and productive learning experience.”

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