By: B.J. Pheasant, Assistant Soccer Coach
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) – The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced the NSCAA Regional Staffs of the Year awards on Tuesday, November 22nd. The top staff in the Great Lakes Region is from Thomas More College and led by Head Coach Jeff Cummings.
"I am proud of the work these young ladies have put in this year," said Head Coach Jeff Cummings. "I would like to thank the players for their enthusiasm and desire on the field. I would also like to thank my assistant coaches for their hard work. Without all of them none of these results happen."
The Thomas More Saints finished the 2016 season with a 22-1-1 mark and peaked at a #3 national ranking entering the NCAA tournament while overcoming significant adversity on the injury front. At times during the season five of the top twelve players were unavailable for selection. This season the TMC defense had the most shut outs in the nation with 19. The Saints defense has been even more impressive with six games in which opposing teams did not even take a shot. And they have the lowest goals against average of anyone qualifying for the NCAA tournament with 0.14 goals per game allowed.
The 2016 season also included a return to the "Sweet 16" or better for the fourth straight year. The Saints are one of only three teams out of 433 NCAA Division III to achieve this level of success in four consecutive years.
Additionally, with the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) tournament semifinal victory Head Coach Jeff Cummings earned his 200th victory with the women's soccer team at Thomas More College in a career that has spanned 13 years with Saints women's soccer program. A fun fact to note is that his 100th career victory came in the championship game of the first PAC tournament championship by the women's program in 2011. Cummings also the head coach of the Saints men's soccer team for 12 years and has an additional 142 victories before retiring from the men's side of the ledger two years ago.
"It is an honor to be part of a coaching staff to be recognized with this award," said assistant women's soccer coach BJ Pheasant. "Coach Cummings is the reason I came to Thomas More. The chance to learn from one of the Top-10 soccer coaches in the nation at all divisions was one I couldn't pass up."
The eight regional winners are eligible for national staff of the year honors.