Entering his 33rd and final season at the helm of the Birmingham-Southern College Men's Soccer program, Preston Goldfarb will leave a tradition of excellence and a legacy of passion for the program he began in 1983, when he was tasked with transforming a fledgling club team on campus into an intercollegiate soccer program. Along the way, Goldfarb nurtured the BSC Men's Soccer program into one of the most respected programs in the country. From the NAIA, to NCAA Division I, and now NCAA Division III, Coach Goldfarb's teams have excelled on the field and his players have excelled in the classroom. "Our priorities have remained constant throughout my tenure," Goldfarb said. "Family first, then school, then soccer. It has been amazing to see what our former players have become and how they are contributing in amazing ways in their communities around our city, state, country, and the world."
After directing BSC to unparalleled heights as a perennial contender in the NAIA (1983-2000), Goldfarb guided the Panthers into NCAA Division I competition (2001-2006) and captured two Big South Conference regular season championships. Since the transition to NCAA Division III in 2007, Goldfarb's teams have been rising to the top. The 2012 team was undefeated in regular season conference play in the Southern Athletic Association, his 2013 squad received a Top 25 national ranking, and the 2014 team finished in the finals of the SAA Championship Tournament. His career coaching record now stands at 352-245-50 heading into the 2015 season.
Regarding the success of the BSC Men's Soccer program, Coach Goldfarb says, "We have seen many changes from NAIA to NCAA Division I to now, NCAA Division III. One thing remains constant and that is that we will continue to play the game simply. The ball is still round, the grass is still green, and 22 players are on the field competing. It has never occurred to us what our division affiliation is, but rather how we play the game. It's not what you do every day in training to become better, but rather what you do when no one is watching that makes you the best."
Goldfarb's involvement with soccer spans more than 40 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 (1993-1996) won a division title, participated in the USISL "Sizzlin' Nine" National Tournament, and hosted two regional playoffs.
The culmination of many years of hard work promoting BSC Soccer came in 1996 when Birmingham-Southern was chosen as the host the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship, held at 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 had ever been held on the campus. BSC honored Preston Goldfarb for the impact he has had on soccer on the Hilltop by naming BSC's soccer field the 'Preston Goldfarb Field' on October 5, 2013.
Goldfarb has been highly involved in international soccer as well. Goldfarb 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 and BSC's campus serving as the Olympic Village. He has also been very involved with the Maccabi USA organization. Goldfarb was appointed head coach of the USA Junior Boy's Soccer Team for the 2009 World Maccabiah Games in Israel, where the team placed fourth and recorded the first win over the host team Israel. The coaching stint with Maccabi continued with Goldfarb coaching the USA Open Men's Team in the 2010 Australia Maccabi Games. The team won a silver medal, losing to Brazil in the final. Goldfarb traveled back to Israel to coach the 2013 USA Open Men's Team to a gold medal finish in the 19th World Maccabiah Games. The gold medal was a first-ever for Team USA in the Open Men's Soccer division in the World Maccabiah Games, or any USA Men's Team in the 76 years of competing. Goldfarb has been named Overall Soccer Chair for the 2016 Maccabi Pan American games in Santiago, Chile, and Co-Chair for the 2017 Maccabiah World Games in Israel.
A native of Birmingham, Goldfarb attended the University of Oklahoma on a basketball scholarship. He completed his undergraduate work at UAB, earned a master's degree in education from the University of Montevallo, and holds a JD degree from the Birmingham School of Law.
Goldfarb attributes all of his success to his wife of 31 years, Marie; their two children, Sean (wife Sammy) and Aly; and his close-knit family for their years of unrelenting support.
"In closing the final chapter of my coaching career, I would first of all like to thank my wife, Marie, and our family, for I would not be what I am today without them," Goldfarb said of his upcoming retirement. "I would also like to thank everyone who has ever been associated with our program for all their loyalty over the years, and especially to all my former players, for without all of you I could never have dreamed the impossible becoming the possible. I feel very fortunate to be leaving 'the baby I birthed' to my assistant, Greg Vinson. I assure you the program could not be in better hands. I personally could not have been as successful without him by my side during this incredible journey."