NEATHAN GIBSON BECOMES PERMANENT FERRIS STATE SOCCER COACH
Former Professional Elevated After Serving As Interim Women's Coach In 2006
Ferris State University Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic announced today (Jan. 29) the permanent selection of Neathan Gibson (pronounced Nee-than) as the school's head women's soccer coach. Gibson, who has a wide array of various coaching and playing experience at the international level, previously had served as FSU's interim head coach during the 2006 fall campaign.
"Neathan did an outstanding job stepping into a difficult situation in the fall when he became our interim coach," Kirinovic said. "On extremely short notice, he created an environment which gave our team a chance to win every time they stepped on the field. As a result, I am extremely excited to have Neathan become our coach."
Gibson was appointed interim head coach prior to the start of the fall season after the departure of former head coach Melissa Lalonde in early August. He directed the Bulldogs to a 7-11 overall mark along with a fifth-place tying 3-5 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) finish. Ferris' seven victories tied for the sixth-highest seasonal total in school history while the squad's 120 total points and 46 goals both represented the highest single-season production in school history. Gibson also had the opportunity to coach junior midfielder Kristie Smilanich (Kalamazoo/Christian), who became the first All-America player in school history by being named to the 2006 Daktronics All-America First Team.
"Neathan has some very specific goals and is willing to work extremely hard to achieve those goals," said Kirinovic. "His passion for the game is outstanding and will give us an even greater chance to succeed."
Prior to his stint as interim coach, Gibson worked as the director of coaching and player development for the Grand Valley Soccer Club based in Kentwood, Mich. While with the organization, Gibson held various head coaching duties and led the program's under 17 girls squad to both a Midwest Divisional Championship and Midwest Regional League First Division title in 2005. The club won three state cup boys championships during the 2005 campaign. Gibson also paired with current Central Michigan women's soccer head coach Tony DiTucci to guide an Olympic Development Program (ODP) team to a regional championship and national tournament berth.
Besides working with the Grand Valley Soccer Club, Gibson also ran his own professional soccer training company, Instinct 4 Goal. The company, which was established in 2004, helped players achieve success both on and off the soccer field.
Gibson was the head coach for the West Michigan Edge, a Premier Development League (PDL) squad in the United Soccer League (USL), from November 2003 to November 2004. His duties with the Edge included working as the camp and clinic director, serving as the director of coaching and player development along with responsibilities involving housing and recruiting players.
During his career, Gibson has earned both United States Soccer Federation (USSF) "A" and "B" Coaching Licenses. From February 2002 to November 2003, Gibson was involved in various capacities with the Des Moines (Iowa) Menace organization in the PDL. He was a player, assistant coach, academy coach, camp and clinic director as well as the group's Assistant Academy Technical Director during his tenure.
As a player, Gibson signed his first professional indoor soccer contract with the San Jose Grizzlies of the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) in 1994. He also played outdoors in Malaysia with the Football Association of Sarawak (FAS), which finished as the Malaysian Cup Runner-up in 1995 and 1996. He was recognized as the top league cup goal scorer for Albirex Niigata in Japan during the 1997-98 season as the squad gained a promotion to the league's second division (J2 League). Gibson also played in the Swedish Premier League for IFK Norrkoping in 1997.
From 1998 to 2000, Gibson played two years in the Finnish Premier League for Myllykosken Pallo-47 where he finished second and fifth, respectively, among the league's goal scoring leaders. His squad earned bronze medals for finishing third in the league both years and qualified for the 2000 InterToto Cup against Xamax from Switzerland as Gibson set a new club single-season goal scoring record with 20 markers. Gibson's playing background also includes time with Major League Soccer's (MLS) Colorado Rapids and the USL's Rochester Raging Rhinos in 2001. The Rhinos won the 2001 USL A-League Championship. Gibson coached youth boys and girls squads overseas in both Finland and Japan during his playing career.
Gibson graduated in May 1994 from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., with a bachelor's degree in business administration and an accounting major. During his collegiate playing career for the Knights, Gibson was a first team National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American and claimed Most Valuable Player Award laurels in the 1994 National Collegiate Senior Bowl. He also helped lead Lynn to the NAIA National Championship in 1991.