– The University of Mobile has named legendary soccer coach Dr. Roy Patton to lead the school’s elite NAIA men’s soccer program.
For Patton, the announcement marks a return to the city that honored him in 1996 by naming May 30 “Roy Patton Day” in recognition of his contributions to area youth soccer.
“Roy Patton’s name in the soccer community is huge, and he came highly recommended from my good friend and former University of South Alabama Athletic Director Joe Gottfried” said UMobile Athletic Director Joe Niland. “He was one of the first to get youth soccer camps started and establish a youth soccer program in south Alabama. His success in starting the soccer program at University of South Alabama is legendary. His reputation and his knowledge are outstanding. Combine that with our elite NAIA men’s soccer program that has already won one national championship, made it to the final four last year, and hosted the NAIA National Championship for two years, and the possibilities are limitless.”
Patton said he was excited to return to Mobile.
“Despite being away from Mobile for 15 years, I have remained very connected to Mobile area athletics through friends, former players and my mentor, Joe Gottfried,” Patton said. “I am truly excited about coming back home!”
UMobile’s men’s soccer program was launched in 1991. Since then, the program has made 14 trips to the NAIA National Tournament, including winning the 2002 NAIA National Championship, NAIA runner-up in 1994 and 1999, and in the NAIA Round of 4 in 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2010. The program has an overall record of 275-122-22 and has produced 51 All-Americans.
Since 1995, the team has been coached by Peter Fuller, who recently left the school to become the reserve team coach for the New England Revolution of the MLS and assist with first-team coaching and scouting. Niland said Fuller had brought the UMobile program to the highest level in the NAIA, and that the university’s tradition of success enabled the school to attract a coach of Patton’s caliber.
“I was extremely impressed during my visit to the University of Mobile, and I intend to do my very best to uphold the tremendous soccer legacy built by Coach Peter Fuller,” Patton said. “I would like to sincerely thank President Dr. Mark Foley and Athletic Director Joe Niland for placing their trust in me to provide a positive influence for the members of the men’s soccer program.”
Patton is a former professional soccer player in both Ireland and the U.S. (Glentoran FC and Bangor FC, both Irish Professional Teams, and in the USISL with the Mobile Revelers and Vermont Wanderers). He was head men’s soccer coach at the University of South Alabama from 1980-1996, earning honors as Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year 12 times.
At USA he had 14 consecutive NCAA Division 1 winning seasons, won the Sun Belt Conference from 1991-1995, and had a 100 percent graduation rate among four-year student-athletes. He was presented the National Meritorious Award for services to the game of soccer by the National Intercollegiate Soccer Official Association in 1993.
At the University of Vermont, where he served as head men’s soccer coach from 1996-2003, the team won the America East in 2000 and made an NCAA appearance, was finalist in America East in 2002, and produced the first Vermont athlete to be named America East Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year for all sports. Patton was named America East Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000
Patton’s combined record at USA and as head men’s soccer coach at the University of Vermont is 270-146-36. When he left the collegiate coaching ranks for the athletic directorship at Plattsburgh State, Patton was ranked nationally in the top 20 among active Division I coaches in career wins and career winning percentage.
Along with the success his players have enjoyed on the field and in the classroom, a number of Patton’s pupils have gone on to make their own marks in soccer. Eddie Carvacho played in the MLS, served as the U.S. National Team goalkeeper and is currently the goalkeepers coach at Clemson University. Colin Carmichael played for the Mobile Revelers and is the head coach of Oklahoma State’s women’s soccer program, and Brett Jacobs is an assistant coach for the 2010 MLS Champion Colorado Rapids. Patton also coached Goggi Rognavaldursson, who was named All-American, Academic All-American and was the NCAA Div I leading goal scorer in 1989. Patton has mentored numerous other players who have gone on to play professionally and enter the coaching ranks at various levels.
Also, Patton has served as coaching director of Nordic Spirit Soccer Club in Burlington, Vermont (1999-2004); as director of athletics at Plattsburgh State University in New York (2004-2005); and as general manager and technical director of Middleton Yahara Soccer Club in Wisconsin (2006 to present). Previously, he was a chemistry and biology teacher with the Mobile County Public School System at Citronelle and Satsuma high schools (1982-1987) and was a science and physical education teacher in Belfast, Northern Ireland (1978-1980).
He is a U.S. Soccer Federation “A” licensed coach and holds certifications with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, advanced national diploma, and Irish Football Association Grade 1.
“I look forward to playing my part in continuing the growth and development of soccer in the Mobile community and adding to the great volume of work already accomplished by many,” Patton said.
He was a founder and board member for the Mobile Revelers professional soccer franchise, and founder and board member for Vermont Wanderers, now known as the Vermont Voltage and rated as one of the best Professional Player Development Soccer League franchises in the U.S. He has served as a regional Olympic development coach from 1988-1992, and as state director of coaching in Alabama from 1988-1992. He served as chairman for soccer in the Sun Belt Conference from 1990-1994 and served on the NCAA Tournament Regional Selection Committee from 1990-1993.
Patton holds a bachelor of education in biology and physical education from Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland; a master of education in exercise technology from University of South Alabama; and a Doctor of Education in sports management from the United States Sports Academy.
He is married to Dr. Katherine Habeeb, M.D., of Mobile and they have two children.
For more information about University of Mobile and UMobile athletics, visit www.umobile.edu or call Joe Niland at (251) 442-2278.