Men's soccer players sharpen skills in summer
Sean Moyo '15 (bottom left) and Peabo Knoth '17 (bottom right) pose for a photo of the Portland Phoenix's Starting XI against the Real Boston Rams at Gillette Stadium on June 28, 2014. (Courtesy photo)LEWISTON, Maine - A number of Bates College men's soccer players have used the summer months to improve their skills, playing in some of the nation's top amateur leagues in environments which allow for both development and competition.
Merchant receives Scholar All-America Honors
Bates College senior Nate Merchant, already the recipient of a litany of postseason honors for his senior season on the Bates men's soccer team, was recognized for his academic excellence as well on Friday, as he was named a Second Team forward on the United Soccer Coaches' NCAA Division III Men's Scholar All-America Teams.
Head Coach, Bates College
On July 30, 2018, Bates College Director of Athletics Jason Fein announced the appointment of Tyler Sheikh, most recently head coach at Knox College in Illinois, as the ninth head coach in the men’s soccer program’s 56-year history.
“We are thrilled to welcome Tyler to the Bobcat family,” said Fein. “Not only have his teams excelled on the field, but the search committee was also impressed by his passion for educating and supporting the entire person, in all academic and personal pursuits. His commitment to community service, social justice and alumni engagement all helped make him a terrific fit for Bates. I am looking forward to working with him and to the Bobcats continuing their upward climb this fall.”
“I’ve always felt a pull to the NESCAC, the best conference in the country” said Sheikh, referring to Bates’ New England Small College Athletic Conference. “Six years ago, an opportunity like this was kind of a pipe dream. Now I feel prepared to realize a goal for me and my budding family: to return home to New England and work with the young men at Bates.”
Sheikh says he feels drawn to Bates specifically by its authenticity. “I feel something a little different on campus at Bates, the idea of realness in people. Bates’ egalitarian ethos fits me perfectly,” he said. A major goal for his Bates program, he says, is mental toughness, “always taking it to the competition. We should be a program that’s fun to watch and has fun.”
A Connecticut native, Sheikh played soccer at Division I Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT), where he earned a history degree in 2008. He has served as head coach at Knox College (Galesburg, IL) since 2015, compiling a 39-10-9 record, including a 22-2-4 mark in Midwest Conference play. Sheikh’s Knox teams have excelled defensively and offensively. In 2017, Knox’s Midwest Conference champion side set conference records with 12 shutouts in 20 regular season games and allowed only one goal in nine regular season conference games. Conversely, in 2015, the team ranked third in Division III in goals scored per game.
Sheikh was head coach at Illinois College (Jacksonville, IL) in 2014 where he led the Blueboys to a 10-7-2 record, their first appearance in the conference playoffs in over 20 years, and the school’s best-ever conference mark (6-3-1). Prior to Illinois College he served as head coach of both men’s and women’s soccer at Mount Aloysius College (Cresson, PA) for two seasons in 2012-2013. He was credited with turning around the Mount Aloysius men’s and women’s teams, winning 2013 Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year honors in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.
Sheikh holds a master’s degree in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is married to Alea Sheikh and the couple have a young daughter, Miller who is ready to enjoy the Bates campus and Maine’s natural beauty.
Assistant Coach, Bates College
Josh begins his second season as an assistant coach with Bates in 2018 after helping guide the Bobcats to the NESCAC tournament in 2017.
“I can’t wait for the season to start,” Thornton said. “There is a fantastic group of boys at this school and they have the right attitude. If they can keep this kind of dedication up then I believe they are destined for big things.”
Josh started coaching for youth academies in England when he was young. He went to Brunel University (West London, England) to pursue a degree in teaching. After completing his degree, he taught and coached for two years in London at Harrow Borough School. Josh then moved to Michigan where he was heavily involved in the club soccer scene before coming to Maine.
In Maine, Josh has been the Premier Director of GPS Maine where he coached some of the GPS National teams and also was part of the Maine ODP coaching staff. Josh also coaches with the Portland Phoenix PDL.
He won the GPS Coach of the Year award in 2015 and then won the Southern Maine High School Coach of the Year award in 2016 after winning the Maine Class B state championship with Yarmouth High School.
As a player, Josh played for Winchester City, England in their youth system.
Josh holds his Level 2 badge from the English FA. He is married to Alyson Thornton and resides in Gorham where they enjoy spending time exploring Maine’s splendor with their three dogs.
Assistant Coach, Bates College
Jared brings twenty years of coaching experience to the Bobcat sideline having previously coached at the club, high school and NCAA DIII level. His career high school record of 157-28-10 includes 5 conference championships and three state titles at two different schools (Nonnewaug High School and Brookfield High School, CT). Currently, he is the girls’ soccer coach at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington, CT.
In two years as the Head Men’s Coach at Elms College (Chicopee, MA), Jared’s teams earned back-to-back regular season NECC championships after going 20-18-3. In 2013 the team earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship after capturing the conference tournament title, and his 2014 team set the school record with a 5-1-1 conference mark. A trip to the NECC tournament final that year was good enough to earn another post-season appearance in the ECAC tournament.
Jared holds an NSCAA Premier Diploma, a USSF B License and a Regional Goalkeeping from the NSCAA. He will assist with tactical analysis and recruiting through southern New England and online platforms.
Jared played three years of tennis at Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and was part of a team that finished 5thin the national DIII year-end rankings.
He’s a full-time teacher at Torrington High School and resides in Connecticut with his wife Emily and their four children Addison, Brecken, Quinley and Bria.