From winning conference championships to earning multiple NCAA tournament bids, Belmont men’s soccer coach Bryan Green has built an impressive resume over his 15-year career in collegiate soccer. After his success as an assistant at West Virginia and Drexel, Green now turns his focus toward his first season at the helm of the Belmont program.
Here, senior sports writer Courtney Martinez sits down with Coach Green to chat about his background, coming to Belmont and his time with U.S. Men’s National Team defender Geoff Cameron.
Could you give us a little background information about yourself?
Well, I most recently came from Drexel University. I was there for four years as an assistant coach with a good friend of mine who I played with in college. It was a great experience building that program from basically a last place team to winning conference championships in back-to-back years, making the NCAA tournament for the first time in 40 years and also going back-to-back NCAA tournaments, which had been done only one other time at Drexel. Prior to that, I was at West Virginia University for seven years. We again turned a last place team into conference champion and NCAA tournament team.
How did you get into playing soccer and coaching?
I went into playing because you know that’s what kids did my age. When we were growing up, we played. Both my brothers played and my sister played. We all played. It started as great activity and just ended up loving it. I got into coaching because I went to college at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. One of my biggest influences in soccer is my head coach, Skip Roderick. He was just so passionate about the game and made me love it even more. I just wanted to stay a part of it as long as possible. I got the bug for coaching from him, and my first job was with him as volunteer coach.
What did your learn from your experience in winning championships and earning multiple NCAA tournament bids at West Virginia and Drexel?
A couple of things. One, it’s not an overnight process. It something that takes a while and takes time, especially if you’re going to sustain it. If you just try to do it right away and in my mind I guess not the right way, it’s tough to sustain it. I want to build something you can sustain. At Drexel, we did it in back-to-back years. At West Virginia we made NCAA tournament three years in a row and just missed out on a fourth year. The other thing is it’s really not about results. You got to worry about getting better and improving as a team and in all the little areas and details.
While you were at West Virginia, you recruited Stoke City and USMNT defender Geoff Cameron. What has it been like to see his success not only at a national level but also with Stoke City?
It’s been awesome. Geoff has not changed as a person from when I recruited him when he was 17 years old. He still just loves the game, always wants to play and get better. He’s somebody who, when he’s back in the states, I get in touch with and talk for a little bit. He’s always been very accessible to everyone really and thankful for success, which is great. But really the person he should thank most is himself because he worked so hard. That’s probably the most exciting thing, how hard he worked to get there. A lot of time when people have a gripe that they didn’t make it, they blame a coach. Geoff is a great example of that it’s not the coach, it’s him. He worked everyday extra after practice and went from a kid who hardly got recruited to the top American in the Premier League.
What encouraged you to apply for the position at Belmont, and how did you know it was the right fit for you?
A lot of different things encouraged me to apply. My wife is originally from Tennessee. So to move back down here and bring her home and be where her family was is exciting. My boss at Drexel had been in the Atlantic Sun, so he knew Belmont. He really thought highly of what the school and soccer program can be. That interested me, and I looked into myself. I saw it was a great school and Nashville is a great city, so you can recruit to it. When I got here, to know it was the right fit was just meeting the people. Everyone I met at Belmont was unbelieveable, and come to find out it wasn’t just them trying to entice me to come here. It was really how they are. They are just great, genuine and sincere people who are always willing to help you. For me, that was the biggest thing that you were going to have support, which is what you need to be successful as program.
Since your wife is from here, has the transition felt more like a homecoming?
It has now. It took a while to get settled and get the family down here from Philadelphia. But now that we’re down here, it’s been great. We’ve had a lot of family visitors and catching up with her family and cousins that she hasn’t seen in awhile. Their families have grown and being able to spend time with their families has been great.
What are your thoughts about Nashville itself?
Well, we haven’t gone out yet and enjoyed the nightlife. We’ve gone and spent some time on 12th South for dinner and gone to a lot of different places to eat. We didn’t realize how good of a food city Nashville was. So we’ve enjoyed the food but haven’t experienced the nightlife. But we have a 1-year-old and 4-year-old, so it keeps our nights busy.
Favorite soccer team?
Favorite player to watch?
“Remember the Titans” and “Dumb and Dumber”
If you weren’t coaching, what would do?
Either teaching or working in finance somewhere.
What do you do outside of soccer?
Go outside and spend time with my family and dogs.
Photo Courtesy: Belmont University Athletics/Erik Unger