Jordan Valentine selected as soccer coach at New Kensington campus

England native tabbed to build on the successes of three-year program

New Penn State New Kensington men's soccer coach Jordan Valentine, right, talked with junior midfielder Steven Warhola. Credit: Bill Woodard / Penn StateCreative Commons

Jordan Valentine was named head coach for Penn State New Kensington’s men's soccer program, it was announced recently by Dave Murray, director of athletics at the campus.

Valentine takes over for Pat Cavanaugh who last season guided the New Kensington Lions to the Final Four of the Penn State University Athletic Conference. Cavanaugh assumed the head position in August after the resignation of the team’s first coach, Jack Adams. Cavanaugh will remain on Valentine’s staff as assistant coach.

A native of Preston, England, Valentine brings a wealth of energy and passion to the position. His charge is to build on the successes of the three-year program. Murray expects Valentine’s leadership experience and coaching ambitions to serve him well as he builds toward a national championship.

Valentine earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Ohio Valley University in West Virginia after graduating from Preston College, a high school in his hometown. At Ohio Valley, he was a four-year starter as a midfielder and twice was named to the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Conference team. In 2008, he was selected for the Great Britain National University soccer team.

A resident of Pittsburgh, Valentine brings a wealth of coaching experience to the position. He holds English Football Association Level 1 and Level 2 coaching license. Prior to joining the New Kensington athletics staff, Valentine was head coach, and international trials and combine manager at the Midwest Soccer Academy in Fenton, Mich. He was responsible for the development of more than 100 players on nine teams.

His organizational skills as well as his soccer acumen are a good fit for a program that in three years of existence has reached the playoffs every year. Valentine’s team philosophy is to meld athletics and academics. He believes that success in the classroom leads to success on the field, a philosophy shared by Kevin Snider, chancellor of the campus.

“Student-athletes must hit the books before the field,” said Valentine, who had try-outs for numerous professional soccer teams in England. “Without the right grades, players will not be able to see the field, so players need to remind themselves to always be a student first and an athlete second.”

The first challenge for Valentine is recruiting in unfamiliar territory. The Alle-Kiski Valley is fertile recruiting ground for soccer, and high schools such as Burrell, Kiski Area, Valley and Springdale have strong, competitive programs. Valentine is starting locally and planning to extend the prospective player base.

“I’m making a lot of phone calls and sending emails, and we are starting to make breakthroughs,” said Valentine. “Interest is coming from as close as local high schools in the area to as far as Puerto Rico and England.”

Valentine's coaching style is possession soccer. He preaches making the opposition work for the ball and then counterattacking. Players that fit Valentine’s mold are coachable and driven.

“I understand the needs and wants of a student-athlete at the collegiate level, and I know what it takes to be a successful player on the field and in the class room,” said Valentine. “By allowing the players to enjoy and express themselves on the field, we can ultimately compete for the conference championship.

Campus athletic teams compete in the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). The PSUAC comprises 15 Penn State campuses that are located throughout the state. Conference champions earn an automatic bid to the USCAA tournaments.

The USCAA is a national organization that provides athletic opportunities to small colleges — those with enrollments of less than 2,500. It sponsors 11 national championship tournaments in men's and women's sports. Established in 2001, the USCAA was incorporated to provide an opportunity for members to compete on an equal level of competition with schools of similar size and athletic programs. Headquartered in Newport News, Va., the organization has more than 82 member institutions in 24 states, stretching from Maine to California. Since joining the USCAA in 2005, the New Kensington campus has produced five All-Americans and nine Academic All-Americans.

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Last Updated March 27, 2013