Concordia names Stephens new men’s, women’s soccer coachPublished 11:05pm Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Ever since Emanuel Stephens can remember, he’s been in love with soccer.
“Growing up I played all sports — football, basketball … but soccer was my major sport,” Stephens said. “Soccer was my first love, it still is.”
Coaching since 2007, the Atlanta native is excited about his first coaching opportunity with Concordia College Alabama as its head men’s and women’s soccer coach, an opportunity he relishes in.
“I worked for Judson (College) for two years and this was an opportunity to come here and I didn’t have to move from the area,” Stephens said. “When you start something, you’ll make history no matter what; it’s exciting to start a program (and) build it up and see where it goes. Collectively, I think we’re bringing in a good group … everyone in administration was supportive.”
With nearly 20 different countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Jamaica being represented in both teams, Stephens said the talent level is indescribable.
“The ultimate goal is always winning the next championship,” Stephens said. “With the level of talent that’s coming in … we want to at least meet nationals. I shoot high; I don’t like to lose.”
As coach of Concordia’s first women’s soccer team, Stephens said there is some pressure to perform at a certain level, but he’s up to the challenge.
“I don’t want to mess up this opportunity to prove myself,” Stephens said. “I’m not going to lie, I like to win. I like the pressure though.”
A 2008 graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, Ga., Stephens served as a graduate assistant for both men’s and women’s soccer programs at the University of Sioux Falls during the 2009 season. During the summer 2010, Stephens was offered the head coaching opportunity at Judson College, a women’s college in Marion, Ala., where he coached for two seasons, leading them to an to an overall record of 16-12-2. For Stephens, he’s excited about bringing the same energy and championship mindset to Concordia.
“I am delighted to accept the head men’s and women’s soccer coaching positions here at Concordia, and would like to thank (Coach) Shepherd Skanes for the opportunity to lead both soccer programs forward,” Stephens said. “The energy and enthusiasm in the athletic department was evident throughout the interview process, and I am very excited to join the Concordia College Alabama community.”
Stephens points to “recruitment” as the no. 1 goal for both soccer programs in the coming months.
“Recruiting will be one of the strengths at CCA,” Stephens said. “International connections will [also] be a strong help with recruiting.”
The men’s soccer team will play away at Faulkner University on Aug. 16 and the women’s team will play Aug. 17 and 18 at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The first home game of the season for both men and women will be Aug. 26 against Oakwood University.