Michael Middleton has been named the new head coach of the men’s soccer program at Gustavus Adolphus College. Middleton, a 1983 graduate of Leeds Carnegie College of Physical Education and Recreation in the United Kingdom, is replacing Larry Zelenz, who resigned in May after serving as the men’s soccer coach for the past 24 years.
Middleton, a native of Birmingham, England, brings an impressive coaching resume to Gustavus that includes very successful coaching tenures at NCAA Division III institutions Frediona State and Cortland State in New York and professional coaching experience with English Premier League and English First Division clubs. While at Fredonia State from 1993 to 1999, Middleton directed his squads to four conference titles, two East Coast Athletic Conference Championships, and three NCAA Tournament appearances. He was named the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Coach of the Year in 1995. In 2000, he accepted the head coaching position at Cortland State University and proceeded to direct the Dragons to SUNYAC titles in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Middleton was named SUNYAC Coach of the Year in 2001. In 2007, he directed the Buffalo semi-pro franchise Queen City FC to the East USA Conference Title, and the squad advanced to the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) national championship game. He recently completed two years as the Academy Year-Group Head Coach for the Birmingham City Football Club of the Premier League in the United Kingdom.
Middleton, an internationally known clinician, holds the European Football/Soccer Federation (UEFA) Advanced coaching license, which is the the top examined international coaching license as well as the English Football Association Full License (Full Badge), recognized as the most prestigious national Advanced License.
Set to begin his coaching duties in August, Middleton is excited about joining the Gustavus community. He stated, “I was so impressed with the friendliness and hospitality of the athletic staff and College community during my visit. Everyone was so genuine and welcoming and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join such an exciting environment.” He added, “It really struck me that the soccer student-athletes had such a good reputation around campus. Nearly everyone commented on what friendly, polite young men they were. That is a great legacy for Larry Zelenz to leave, and speaks volumes for him and the program. I look forward to continuing the tradition of bringing bright and talented young men to Gustavus to pursue excellence both in the classroom and on the soccer field.”
In addition to coaching the men’s soccer team, Middleton will also teach in the health and exercise science department. An experienced educator, Middleton holds a master’s degree in physical education from West Virginia University and a Post Graduate Teaching Certificate from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. He served as an associate professor in the physical education department at both Fredonia State and Cortland State teaching sports psychology, stress management, and advanced coaching methodology.
Gustavus Athletics Director Al Molde is pleased to welcome an individual as respected and experienced as Michael Middleton to carry on the long and successful tradition of the men’s soccer program. He stated, “I am extremely excited to have Michael join our coaching family at Gustavus. He brings a wealth of successful experiences in soccer to Gustavus, having coached at almost every level of competitive soccer in the United States and England. Particularly impressive is his head coaching record at two separate NCAA Division III institutions, Fredonia State, and Cortland State. I am confident that our strong and successful men’s soccer program will most certainly benefit by having such a talented and experienced head coach leading the program.”
Middleton becomes the eighth head coach in the 42-year history of the Gustavus men’s soccer program. The Gusties have compiled an all-time record of 418-182-90 (.671) winning 12 conference titles and making eight NCAA Tournament appearances.