Entering his 32nd 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. In NCAA Division III, Goldfarb's 2012 team was undefeated in regular season conference play in the Southern Athletic Association, and his 2013 squad received a Top 25 national ranking. His career coaching record now stands at 339-241-49.
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 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.
Regarding his coaching style, Coach Goldfarb says, "We have seen many changes from NAIA to NCAA Division I to now, NCAA Division III. One thing that remains constant 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 how we play the game."
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 regular season conference championships, seven conference tournament championships, and three regional championships (NAIA), and 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 41 Academic All-Americans. Goldfarb has also coached 12 Phi Beta Kappa graduates. On the other side of the spectrum, the Panthers have had 34 All-American selections.
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 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 with his induction into the NAIA Hall of Fame on 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 an NSCAA Region honoree in 1995 and 1997. 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.
Goldfarb has also been very involved with the Maccabi USA organization. He was appointed head coach of the USA's Junior Boy's Soccer Team for the 2009 World Maccabiah Games in Israel. The team placed fourth in the 2009 tournament 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 after losing to Brazil in the final. Goldfarb traveled back to Israel last July 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 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.
On October 5, 2013, BSC honored Goldfarb for the impact he has had on soccer on the Hilltop by naming BSC's soccer field the "Preston Goldfarb Field".
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.
Goldfarb attributes all of his success to his wife of 30 years, Marie; their two children, Sean (wife Sammy) and Aly; and his close-knit family for their years of unrelenting support.