Milwaukee Wave Hall of Famer is new Lakeland head soccer coach
Athletics - posted on 7/28/2010
Tony Pierce, a Milwaukee Wave Hall of Fame member and a familiar name in the Wisconsin soccer scene, has been named head men's and women's soccer coach at Lakeland College.
One of the winningest goalkeepers in the history of the National Professional Soccer League, Pierce was a seven-year member of the Milwaukee Wave appearing in 178 games. He was inducted into the Wave Hall of Fame this past January.
The three-time all-pro, who served as the Wave's director of community relations for six years, remains second on the team's career list in games played (178), minutes played (9,393) and saves (2,401).
Pierce will also be a familiar face to anyone who has followed Wisconsin Division III soccer. He was previously head coach at three Northern Athletics Conference schools: Concordia University Chicago (2000-01), where he started the men's and women's soccer programs, Wisconsin Lutheran (1996-98) and Milwaukee School of Engineering (1986-89).
"I've been looking for a place to call home, and Lakeland seems like the ideal place," Pierce said. "I enjoyed the time I spent coaching at some of the schools in this conference, and it will be fun to renew some old friendships. The conference has gotten bigger and more competitive, and I welcome that challenge."
He inherits a men's program that returned to the NAC Tournament for the second year in a row by finishing sixth in the league. The Muskies (8-10-1, 6-5) finished third in program history for goals and assists in one season, and returns a solid nucleus of players. The women's program struggled with low numbers and a string of ill-timed injuries, leading to a 4-15 overall record, 2-10 in NAC play.
"Lakeland has a lot to offer in both its soccer programs," Pierce said. "The men had a good season last fall, and I'd like to see us go a little deeper in the conference tournament this year. Speaking with some of women's players during my visit to campus, they were disappointed with last year, but they're excited about this fall.
"Our immediate goal will be improve on the number of wins in the conference and get ourselves in a position to compete for the conference tournament."
Pierce comes to Lakeland from Shattuck St. Mary's School, a boarding school/soccer academy in Faribault, Minn., where he was community program managing director and U-16 boys assistant coach. He has served as player development staff coach for the Chicago Fire since 2007.
"We're fortunate to hire someone of Tony's caliber and experience," said Jane Bouche, Lakeland director of athletics. "I'm confident that Tony will have immediate positive impact on all aspects of both our men's and women's programs. He's a fixture in the state soccer scene, and we're thrilled to have him join our team."
A former Lake Michigan Conference coach of the year (1987), Pierce was assistant men's soccer coach at UW-Green Bay from 2004-09, assistant men's soccer coach at UW-Milwaukee from 1987-92 and head men's soccer coach at Midland, Tex., College (2001-04).
He is a 30-year staff member of the nationwide Joe Machnik's #1 Soccer CAMPS, where he currently is a premier staff member. He earned his United States Soccer Federation "A" License in 2002 and his National Goalkeeping License in 2007.
He played college soccer at the University of Connecticut from 1980-84, and was a member of the Huskies' 1981 NCAA Division I Championship soccer squad and had a part in a pair of national semifinal appearances for UConn in 1982 and 1983.
Pierce has two daughters, Pearl (17) and Hanna (12).
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