PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania’s James C. Gentle Head Coach of Men’s Soccer, Rudy Fuller, has announced Robert Irvine as his new assistant coach. Irvine replaces Bob Butehorn, who left after five seasons with the Quakers to take over as head coach at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“I am very pleased to have Rob join my staff,” said Fuller. “He has a strong pedigree as a player and a coach, and I think he will be a valuable addition to the Penn Soccer family and the University community as a whole. Everyone I spoke with during the search had nothing but great things to say about his character, passion, work ethic, professionalism and knowledge of the game. He has competed internationally as a member of the Canadian Olympic team pool and had a stellar collegiate career at Syracuse University. As a coach, his experience as an assistant at Syracuse and head coach at College of the Southwest will allow him to step right in and help our program continue to compete at the highest level.”
Irvine comes to Philadelphia after a successful two-year stint at College of the Southwest -- an NAIA school located in Hobbs, N.M. -- where he was head coach of both the men’s and women’s soccer teams. He led the Mustang men to back-to-back winning records and berths in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Tournament semifinal round. He compiled a two-year record of 22-14, and was the 2004 RRAC Men’s Co-Coach of the Year. During his tenure, six players earned first-team all-conference and seven were second-team selections.
On the women’s side -- duties that he relinquished following the 2005 season -- Irvine put together consecutive winning seasons (a combined 20-16-1) and RRAC Tournament appearances. He was the conference’s Coach of the Year in 2004 and followed that up with Co-Coach of the Year honors last fall. Irvine had women earn Red River Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year (2004), Defensive Player of the Year (2004 and 2005) and Newcomer of the Year (2005). Eight of Irvine's women were first-team All-RRAC selections, and seven were second-team picks, and he also had seven players earn NAIA Regional VI honors.
Prior to his arrival in New Mexico, Irvine was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Syracuse University, from 2001 to 2003. During his tenure, the Orange had a player earn Soccer America Freshman of the Year (Jarett Park in 2001) and another, Chris Aloisi, selected in the 2004 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft. In addition, Irvine coached three players who helped Canada to a quarterfinal berth at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship.
Irvine also has experience coaching at the Olympic Development Program (ODP) level, as he was a staff coach for the Region IV camp in 2004. He currently holds an “A” license from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
Irvine enjoyed a successful playing career before he jumped into coaching. A two-time captain at Syracuse, he played for Canada's Under-17 National Team at that age group’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament in 1991, and in 1993 and 1994 he was in Canada’s Olympic Soccer Team pool of players. Irvine also played professionally for a number of years.