SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College announced on Tuesday the hiring of Joel Tyson as head coach of the men’s soccer program. Tyson has spent the last two years with the Charlotte Independence in the USL and was an assistant coach for the Terriers from 2011-2014.
“We are excited to welcome Joel back to Wofford,” said Wofford College Director of Athletics Richard Johnson. “The pool of candidates that we had for this position was very impressive, but Joel rose to the top. We were impressed with him when he as here as an assistant coach and look forward to working with him again.”
“From the time I left in 2014 as an assistant coach, Wofford was the only place I could see myself as a head coach.,” said Tyson. “The people, the campus, and the program hold a special place for me and I am proud to be able to call Wofford home again. I have enjoyed the opportunity coaching in the professional game for the past few years. However, it was the relationships I had with the alumni and the relationships I had on campus that made this decision more than just a soccer decision. This program has a tradition, created by Ralph Polson, of creating a family bond and growing players in all aspects of their lives. My goal is to have the same impact.
“I am eager to begin working with the current players and establishing those relationships,” continued Tyson. "I also look forward to starting the process of finding the future players that will help us continue the tradition of competing in the Southern Conference.”
For the past two years Tyson has been a member of the coaching staff of the Charlotte Independence and since contributed a playoff appearance and the franchise’s best season. In his first season with the club, the Independence goalkeepers recorded six clean sheets, 90 saves, and the Eastern Conference’s fourth-best goal differential. During his breakout 2017 season, goalkeeper Cody Mizell played in 32 games on his way to earning USL Save of the Month for May, USL Save of the Year Runner-Up, and being one of five USL Goalkeeper of the Year nominations. He was planning to work for the expansion club New Mexico United as first assistant coach this upcoming USL season before accepting the position at Wofford.
He spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Central Florida. In 2015, the Knights posted a 9-8-2 overall record. Hadji Barry was selected to the American All-Conference first team, while Jakov Basic earned All-Rookie Team honors. Barry was picked 13th overall in the MLS SuperDraft. During the 2016 season, the team was 5-11 overall and Matias Pyysalo was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Brian Jamba earned a spot on the American All-Rookie Team.
Tyson spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Wofford men’s soccer team after spending two years at Hofstra. While with the Terriers, the team earned the 2013 Southern Conference Regular Season Championship and had back-to-back appearances in the Southern Conference Tournament Championship final. The team posted 10+ wins in three of his four seasons with the Terriers. Tyson played a big role in Wofford’s recruiting and development of players such as Connor Davis, Nestor Jaramillo, Forrest Lasso, Matthew Aurednik, and Garrett Closs earned All-Southern Conference Team honors.
At Hofstra, Tyson worked primarily with the goal keepers along with assisting in all aspects of the day-to-day operations. In 2010 the team recorded nine shutouts with a 1.12 goal against average. In his first season on the staff, the goalkeepers had seven shutouts.
Tyson is the former starting goalkeeper at Coker College, where he graduated in 2008 with a degree in history (and a minor in English). He tallied a 1.85 goal against average as a senior for the Cobras, when he helped the program to the highest win total in school history. He was named a team captain as both a junior and senior.
While an undergraduate, Tyson also served as president of Coker’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), helped organize an athletic department fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and served as a student ambassador for two years. He also attended the National Leadership Conference in 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tyson served as the Director of Goalkeeping at the Ralph Lundy Soccer Academy for many years. He also worked as the goalkeeper coach for the South Carolina Olympic Development Program (ODP), where he assisted Ralph Polson. He also worked independently with the goalkeepers for the Long Island Rough Riders of the Premier Development League (PDL).
As a native of Irmo, South Carolina, Tyson earned three soccer letters at Dutch Fork High School prior to attending Coker. He served as the goalkeeper coach at Dutch Fork for one season before joining the Hofstra program in 2009.