Brian Tompkins, who enters his 19th year at the helm of the Yale soccer program in 2014, has firmly established the Bulldogs as one of the most successful programs in the Northeast. Tompkins is the second winningest coach in Yale’s long history. His 137 wins at Yale trail only Steve Griggs (143). In 10 of his seasons, the Bulldogs have had a .500 or better record in Ivy League play.
In 2005, Tompkins guided Yale to its first Ivy League title since 1991. The Bulldogs finished with a 10-4-4 overall record, were 5-1-1 in Ivy play and advanced to the NCAA College Cup for the sixth time in school history. In 1999, Tompkins led the Bulldogs to a school-record 13 wins, an appearance in the College Cup and a final national ranking of 18th. In 1998, Tompkins led Yale to a 5-2 record in the Ivy League and a second-place finish. Yale won 11 games in 1997 and the team was in the hunt for the Ivy title until the final game of the regular season. In his rookie season, the Bulldogs won 10 games, five more than the previous season.
Eight of Tompkins' players at Yale have gone on to play professionally, including Ryan Raybould '05, who spent three seasons with the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer before playing professionally in Sweden. Raybould was the 2004 Yale captain. Brian Roberts '04 spent three years playing for the Wizards and served as a Youth Soccer Account Executive for the club. Roberts became the first Yale player to start an MLS game when he played 79 minutes against Real Salt Lake in July of 2005. Brian Lavin '01, a three-time first team All-Ivy selection, was picked by the Wizards in the fifth round of the MLS SuperDraft in 2002. Jay Alberts was chosen in the fourth round of 2004 draft by the Wizards and spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the A-League Minnesota Thunder. He also played with the Vancouver Whitecaps of the A-League. Matt Schmidt '01 played with Alberts with the Thunder and also was a member of the Milwaukee Wave of the Major Indoor Soccer League, earning All-Star recognition in 2006. In addition, Jac Gould earned Ivy League Player of the Year honors under Tompkins' tutelage in 1998, and Alberts was named the league's Rookie of the Year in 1999.
In addition to his duties at Yale, Tompkins serves as the head coach of the Region 1 Under-15 ODP age group. In December of 2013, he guided the team to the U15 ODP Interregional Tournament title. Tompkins also has had a hand at the professional level, coaching at the adidas MLS Player Combine.
Tompkins' success at Yale shouldn't come as a surprise. Prior to arriving in New Haven he built the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee into a national soccer power. In seven seasons at UWM he compiled an overall record of 90-41-11, including six winning seasons. He led the Panthers to an NCAA Tournament appearance (1990), a Mid-Continent Conference title (1993) and a Big Central Soccer Conference crown (1990). His teams were ranked in the top 25 in four of his last six years. Tompkins was inducted into the UWM Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. In 1995 he was presented with a Meritorious Service Award from the Wisconsin Soccer Association Hall of Fame and a Special Achievement Award from the UWM Athletic Hall of Fame.
A native of London, England, Tompkins first came to the United States in 1980 as a part of a summer exchange program working with inner-city children. He returned for the next few summers and eventually became an assistant boys' soccer coach at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wis., under former U.S. national coach Bob Gansler. He joined Gansler at UWM as a volunteer assistant coach in 1985 and was named UWM's women's coach in 1987. His 1988 women's team earned the school's first national ranking with a 10-7-0 overall record. In 1989 Tompkins succeeded Gansler as men's head coach.
Tompkins' interest in soccer has extended to the club level as well. He was the head coach of the Bavarian Soccer Club's first team and led the squad to the finals of the National Open Championship in 1994. In addition, he has coached many youth teams for the Bavarians and was a Wisconsin Olympic Development Select Team coach for the 1986 and 1987 boys' teams and the 1988 girls' team. He also was a member of the Midwest ODP staff and was director of the Panther Soccer Camps as well as working on the Olympic Development Region I staff.
Tompkins, a 1979 graduate of Bingley College in England with a degree in education, has been active in numerous charitable organizations. He organized and ran a soccer/reading camp for underprivileged children, volunteered for the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund and, along with players, worked at Camp Heartland, a camp for children suffering from AIDS in Wisconsin.
Tompkins and his wife, Kristin, reside in Milford and have one child, Ava. Tompkins also has an older daughter, Hayley.
Suzuki, who captained the 1999 Bulldogs to a school-record 13 wins, returns for his fourth year as an assistant coach in 2014.
Suzuki has had an immediate impact on the Yale program. In his first year, the Bulldogs won five more games overall than the previous season and three more Ivy games.
As a player at Yale, Suzuki had a key role in one of the most successful stretches in the long history of Yale Soccer. During his four years, the Bulldogs won 44 games, including posting a 17-9-2 mark in Ivy League play. As a senior, he helped Yale to a thrilling victory over Rutgers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He was a second team All-Ivy selection as a sophomore and senior and earned first team recognition in his junior year. In all, he started 65 games for the Bulldogs, scored 10 goals and added 15 assists.
Suzuki also excelled off the field. He was the recipient of the Yale Athletic Department’s 2000 Thomas W. Ford Community Outreach Award and participated in the NCAA Foundation Leadership Conference in 1999. In addition, he was a two-time Academic All-Ivy selection.
Suzuki served as a volunteer assistant coach under head coach Brian Tompkins in 2001, and also has coaching experience with the San Diego Soccer Club Pegasus and with PQ Premier.
He earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in 2006.
“Hiro was a fantastic player and leader during his time at Yale and brings outstanding creativity and charisma both on and off the field,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “He is one of the best soccer-thinkers that I have coached in my time at Yale and brings a tremendous amount of first-hand experience to the playing and academic environments. His affable personality, drive and enthusiasm are infectious.”
Olli Harder, who has a wealth of international coaching experience, is in his first season as a member of Brian Tompkins' staff.
Most recently, Harder served as a football development officer at Club Football China, where he worked with Chinese youth players. Previously he was a Regional Coaching Director with Maestro Soccer Academy in New Jersey.
His first collegiate coaching assignment came at NJIT where he spent two seasons as goalkeeper coach.
Harder is a native of New Zealand where he played and began his coaching career. He is a graduate of the New Zealand Institute of Technology with a bachelor of sport degree. His studies included a semester in the United States at Virginia Tech.
He played in New Zealand’s Northern Premier League for two teams as their starting goalkeeper and also played for two teams in New Zealand’s highest league, the New Zealand Football Championship.
He began his coaching career at Lynfield High School at the age of 20 and was named the Northland secondary schools Coach of the Year.
“For such a young coach, Olli has extensive work experience in several countries and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge,” said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. “He brings a high level of teaching ability and terrific dynamism to our environment and his impact will be quickly felt on and off the field.”