By Becca Robbins in Sports
Clark Athletics announced Brett Jacobs will be the new men’s soccer coach as of April 24.
Jacobs, 45, is replacing Biniam Afenegus, who coached the Penguins for eight years and led them to five South Region titles and an NWAC championship. Afenegus is building a men’s soccer program at Southern Oregon University.
Jacobs has played soccer since he was little, including at the Division I University of South Alabama and in the lower divisions in England. He began coaching the
Wimbledon Football Club in London and got his Union of European Football Association coaching license.
“The game is everywhere all the time. Newspapers, television it’s just a major part of the landscape and the culture, especially in England,” Jacobs said.
After three years in Europe, Jacobs returned to the U.S. and continued coaching.
In 2007, he was hired as the Director of the Colorado Rapids Soccer Academy. He was also the reserve team’s head coach and assistant coach to the main team. He was promoted to head coach of the first team and won the MLS Cup in 2010. “It was an achievement of a lifetime,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs lived in the Portland area for two years and was attracted by the culture of the Sounders/Timbers rivalry.
“I think it’s as close to European scale as you can get in this country,” Jacobs said.
The college level player appealed to Jacobs. He said that the 18-24-year-old players have ambition and desire to win like no other age group.
“I look back on my time as a player and those were special times,” Jacobs said. “I like to help players get to where they want to get, and I think it’s a great opportunity to get some of the college guys exposed to coaching. Maybe some of those guys will see that as a career path for them down the line.”
Jacobs plans to continue as the technical director of the Washington Timbers while coaching at Clark.
Because of his late hiring, he has had a late start to recruiting. Although he has not met the former team, he said this is definitely a rebuilding year due to injuries.
He stressed the value of the recruiting process and the quality of players he coaches. Players are some of the best recruiters he said.
Director of Athletics Ann Walker said that Jacobs’s connections will be a great asset to the soccer department.
“It’s no question that our men’s soccer program has been one of our great success,” Walker said. “And in our search, one of our focuses was to make sure that we picked the person we felt could lead us and continue in that direction. I really feel that Brett will be the person to do that.”
The relationships that Jacobs forms with his players stood out to Walker. He said it is important to be caring without giving players the answers. Discipline is important to him but, “every player is different.”
“I think that outside of people’s natural family, in modern society, the coach is one of the most influential people in young athletes’ lives,” Jacobs said.
Walker expects the players to welcome Jacobs with open arms and a smooth transition.
“I hope first and foremost to mold and shape young people of character,” Jacobs said. “And if we play some good soccer along the way we might win something.”