Nov. 21, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The National Soccer Coaches Association of America announces today the selection of Gamecock head coach Mark Berson as the 2014 recipient of the Bill Jeffrey Award.
With 38 years as an NCAA Division I head coach, Berson ranks as the longest-tenured coach at South Carolina and one of the longest in NCAA men’s soccer history. He has the third-most NCAA Division I wins as a head coach (472). Berson’s Gamecock teams have appeared in 20 NCAA Tournaments, tied for seventh all-time for a coach. He’s had 35 seasons where his teams have finished with a .500 winning percentage or better. He’s a four-time NSCAA All-South Region Coach of the Year, and he won the 2011 Coach of the Year award from Conference USA, a league his team has competed in for the past 10 years. The Gamecocks have earned two C-USA Tournament titles and one regular-season crown in that time.
His players have achieved 15 All-America recognitions, 71 All-South Region certificates and 44 All-Conference USA honors. He’s also guided freshmen to eight Freshman All-America notations and 12 C-USA All-Freshman Team spots. Twice, he’s trained the National Goalkeeper of the Year.
Coaching a player on each of the last four US Men’s National Teams in the World Cup, Berson’s impact expands internationally. He’s had over 50 players enter into professional soccer in the United States as well as in Europe, including the Barclay’s Premier League. His former assistants and players coach at every level of college soccer, with some former players currently serving on Major League Soccer coaching staffs (see them all here).
In the classroom, his teams have excelled as well, with seven earning CoSIDA Academic All-America honors on 10 occasions and taking eight NSCAA Team Academic Awards. according to the coaches’ association, his squads had the top GPA in NCAA Division I men’s soccer in 2010 and 2013.
He’s also coached at the international level, leading the 1989 US National U18 Team for the Granatkin/Leningrad Tournament in the Soviet Union. And his work has been recognized before, earning induction into the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association Hall of Fame in 1992 after serving as the State Coach, where he worked in player development and coaching certification. He’s a US Soccer National Instructional Staff Coach with an “A” coaching license.
Berson has been a member of the NSCAA since 1977. He has served on multiple awards committees with the NSCAA over the years, including the All-America, Coach of the Year and college rankings committees. He is a frequent clinician, a Region III ODP staff coach and teacher of the game to players from all backgrounds and walks of life. Berson’s colleagues have described him as someone who has shaped the college game through his tenure of service to his players. In addition to Berson being a soccer coach at one of the highest levels, he is respected more importantly for being a gentleman.
The Bill Jeffrey Award is awarded annually to an individual for outstanding service to or achievement in intercollegiate soccer, with its name honoring the former Penn State coach and 1948 NSCAA president who received the NSCAA Honor Award in 1949.
The other NSCAA long-term service honorees are Don Brock from Massachusetts, given the Robert W. Robinson Award for high school coaches, and Dr. Lew Atkinson of Delaware, the Charlotte Moran Award winner for youth service. All three will be honored at the NSCAA Convention on Fri., Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.