|Title:||Head Men's Soccer Coach|
Entering his 30th season at the helm of the Birmingham-Southern College Men’s Soccer program, Preston Goldfarb continues to promote the passion of a sport that has grown immensely during his coaching career.
After directing BSC to unparalleled heights as a perennial contender in the NAIA, Goldfarb guided the Panthers to a Big South Conference runner-up finish in 2003—the school’s first season of NCAA Division I eligibility. Since that season, BSC captured back-to-back Big South Conference regular season crowns in 2004 and 2005 and posted a runner-up finish in the league tournament in 2004.
Since arriving on the BSC campus in 1983 to take over a fledgling soccer program, Goldfarb’s interests have been directed toward the development of soccer throughout the community, state and Southeast. His mission of increasing the knowledge and love for the game is rooted within his own program.
The culmination of many years of hard work promoting the sport came in 1996 when Birmingham-Southern was chosen as the host for the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship held at the city’s historic Legion Field. In 1997 and 1998, the tournament was held on the campus of BSC. It was the first time any athletic national championship event had ever been held on the campus.
As a coach, Goldfarb does not teach or endorse a complicated game to his players. Instead, he patterns much of his soccer strategy after the European style of keeping the game simple. A simple game might be his philosophy, but the players that he signs into his program are far from being simple student-athletes. Goldfarb’s goal is to recruit players that have as much passion about the game as he does.
Goldfarb looks for student-athletes who are dedicated to academics and are willing to exert their energies toward a degree that will serve them well in their chosen professional career or toward achieving a post-graduate degree. On the pitch, however, Goldfarb seeks players that believe in the importance of fundamentals and leave every ounce of energy on the field.When a student-athlete commits to BSC, he knows that the program will be run in a first-class manner and that Goldfarb expects nothing but 100-percent commitment to the success of the team both on and off the field.
His coaching style has translated into numerous achievements both through soccer and the classroom. Goldfarb has won 10 conference championships, seven conference tournament championships, and three regional championships (NAIA), and has appeared in the NAIA National Championship Tournament in five of the last six years BSC competed in the NAIA. The Panthers were NAIA National Runners-up in 1996 and made the national semifinals in both 1995 and 1999. In 2000, the last year in the NAIA for BSC, the Panthers won their fifth-straight TranSouth Conference Tournament and participated in their eighth-straight regional tournament.
In the classroom, Birmingham-Southern can boast of having the most Academic All-Americans of any NAIA men’s soccer program. Three more have been added since the Panthers’ move to the NCAA, pushing the total to 40. Twice, BSC has had five players selected in one season (1986 and 1987). Goldfarb has also coached 10 Phi Beta Kappa graduates.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Panthers have had 34 All-American selections.
In addition to Goldfarb’s success in getting the most out of his players during BSC’s seasons, 11 Panthers have been invited to play in invitation-only all-star games in his tenure. Goldfarb also has coached many players who have continued their soccer talents at the professional level.
Goldfarb’s involvement with soccer spans more than 30 years, beginning with the development of youth and adult soccer programs in Alabama, including the Mid-State Youth Soccer Organization in the early 1970s. In 1993, Goldfarb created another landmark for soccer in the state, originating the first-ever Alabama amateur soccer team in the U.S. Interregional Soccer League. With Goldfarb at the helm, the Birmingham Grasshoppers won a division title, participated in the USISL “Sizzlin Nine” National Tournament, and hosted two regional playoffs. The Grasshoppers team was designed to give Goldfarb’s players an opportunity to compete at a high level during the off-season, and at the same time develop their skills. Travel schedules and time away from Birmingham-Southern led Goldfarb to discontinue the Grasshoppers after the 1996 season.
In 1995, Goldfarb again brought soccer to a new level in the state of Alabama by being the driving force behind the city of Birmingham hosting Olympic soccer for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. In 2000, he received the ultimate honor of achievement for a coach at the NAIA level: he was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame, Nov. 16, 2000, in Albuquerque, N.M.
Goldfarb has been named Conference Coach of the Year five times, including the 2005 Big South Conference Coach of the Year; Region Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997, and 1999; and he was named NSCAA Region honoree in 1995 and 1997. In 1995 and 1996, Goldfarb wrote a column in the Birmingham Post-Herald dedicated to educating the public on the World Cup competition in 1994 and the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. He also served as president of the NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches Association.
Another honor was bestowed on Goldfarb during the summer of 2008 when he was appointed head coach of the Maccabi Games USA’s Junior Boy’s soccer team for 2009. Team USA finished with an undefeated record in pool play, a first for a U.S. team. They defeated their host, Israel (1-0), Mexico (1-0), Germany (5-2), South Africa (3-0), and drew even with Canada (0-0). They finished the medal round with losses to Argentina and Brazil, but still posted one of the team’s best tournaments ever. Their 1-0 win in pool play over Israel was the team’s first-ever win over the host nation. In fact, it was Israel’s first loss in the tournament - ever. The team finished in fourth place overall in the tournament.
Goldfarb also had the honor of coaching with his son, Sean, during the Maccabi Games. After playing soccer for four years at BSC, Sean graduated from the Cumberland School of Law and made the Trial Advocacy Law Review, where he also was published. He is married to the former Sammy Sittig.
After coaching in Israel in the summer of 2009 for Maccabi USA and coaching the USA’s men’s open team in the 2010 Australia Maccabi Games to a silver medal, Goldfarb has been selected to coach the Open Men’s Team in Israel in July 2013 at the 19th World Maccabiah Games.
Coach Goldfarb’s daughter, Aly, was at the Maccabi Games in 2009 as well, but as a track and field participant earning four medals in the events at the games. The BSC track and field standout finished with a gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay, and bronze medals in the 400-meter run and the pole vault. She also won a team silver in her first-ever half-marathon at Maccabi. Aly graduated from ’Southern after being named BSC’s Athlete of the Year for 2009-10. She was the Israeli National Champion in 800-meter, and runner-up in the 1500-meter event. Currently, Aly is training for the 2013 World Championships, with hopes of qualifying.
A native of Birmingham, Goldfarb attended the University of Oklahoma on a basketball scholarship. He completed his undergraduate work at UAB. He also earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Montevallo, and holds a JD degree from the Birmingham School of Law.
His love and passion for soccer consumes the majority of his time, whether it is at Birmingham-Southern or increasing the public’s knowledge of the sport across the South through countless speaking engagements. Goldfarb attributes all of his success to his wife of 28 years, Marie; their two children; and his close-knit family for their years of unrelenting support.