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Men’s Soccer Names New Coach

By David Freed and Michael D. Ledecky, Crimson Staff Writers

UPDATED: April 7, 2013, at 9:12 p.m.

Pieter Lehrer, associate head coach at the University of California, Berkeley, was named the new coach of the Harvard’s men’s soccer team on Thursday.

Lehrer’s hiring comes three months after the resignation of Carl Junot, who led the team for the past three seasons.

Lehrer will start his new position next week, when he will travel to Cambridge to begin instructing players during offseason workouts, according to Director of Athletics Robert L. Scalise. When he arrives at Harvard, Lehrer will face the challenge of turning around a team that went 3-11-3 and finished last in the Ivy League with a 0-6-1 conference record in the 2012 season.

“We welcome [Lehrer] to Harvard,” Scalise said. “He was an outstanding candidate...and he impressed us with his ability to motivate his players as well as with his philosophy of using soccer as a way to help educate people.”

Lehrer was selected during an interview process that began during Wintersession and involved both players on the team and interested alumni. Scalise said that during interviews, Lehrer’s ability to communicate his message stood out among the other candidates.

“He is a very clear communicator,” Scalise said. “He states specific goals for both the team and the individual player. He gives everyone a role, from a traveling role to a non-traveling role to a starter to a key player. He walked us through in the interview process his ideas to get the team to improve. In our environment with our type of students, that type of mindset is very important.”

Reached by phone on Sunday, Lehrer said that Harvard student-athletes have built-in advantages that are conducive to athletic success.

“[This group] had to do well academically to get to Harvard, and they had to compete in all arenas in their life,” Lehrer said. “If we give them a good place to go to and show them how to be successful on and off the field, I think they will respond to it.”

Although the team regressed during Junot’s tenure—after winning the league in 2009, the team never finished higher than sixth in the Ancient Eight under the former coach—Lehrer said he believes the team has potential.

“You look at the basketball program and the excitement and the success that they have had, [and] I think it can be very similar [for the soccer team],” Lehrer said. “Every person in the world, every kid in the world who has had success academically or as a soccer player will be interested in Harvard.”

As a player, Lehrer helped the University of California, Los Angeles, soccer team to its first-ever NCAA championship in 1985. After graduating from UCLA in 1990, he later worked as an assistant coach for both Stanford and the Los Angeles Galaxy before joining the Golden Bears.

—Staff writer David P. Freed can be reached at davidfreed@college.harvard.edu. Follow David on Twitter @CrimsonDPFreed.

—Staff writer Michael D.Ledecky can be reached at mledecky@college.harvard.edu. Follow Michael on Twitter @mdledecky.

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