Ralph Polson, a member of the Erskine College Class of 1980, is now serving a term as president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
For three years prior to becoming president, Polson served as vice president of Conventions and Awards at NSCAA. His term as president will culminate with the organization’s 2013 convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
Polson, now head men’s soccer coach at Wofford College, started out as a chemistry student at Erskine, and told Jo Ann Brasington of Wofford Today that he “majored in chemistry but got my degree in soccer.”
It was at Erskine that he “fell in love with soccer and got his first taste of coaching,” he said. During his undergraduate days, he played goalkeeper on the men’s soccer team and also gained coaching experience by assisting with Ralph Lundy’s soccer camps at Erskine.
Polson went on to graduate school in analytical chemistry at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, but, he told Brasington, “With a semester of classes and a year of research left, I walked away from graduate school to become a soccer coach.”
Before joining the Wofford staff, he coached at several other schools, including Erskine, Presbyterian College, and the College of Charleston. Under his leadership, Wofford won the conference and tournament championships and went to the NCAA tournament in 2009. Since 1992 Polson has served as assistant director of the Ralph Lundy Soccer Academy.
During his term as president, Polson plans to focus on “completing a five-year strategic plan” for NSCAA during his term as president, and will also work toward having another plan in place before the conclusion of the current plan, he told Brasington.
He believes that a shorter span of time might be more appropriate for the NSCAA’s next strategic plan. He will spend time “evaluating the organization and creating a recurring three-year plan that will lay the groundwork for the future of NSCAA,” he said, adding, “That will be my legacy.”
Based in Kansas City, Kan., the National Soccer Coaches Association of America is the largest soccer coaches’ organization in the world. Since its founding in 1941, the NSCAA has grown to include more than 30,000 members. In addition to a national rankings program for colleges and high schools, NSCAA offers an extensive recognition program that presents nearly 10,000 individual awards every year. The NSCAA fulfills its mission of coaching education through a nationwide program of clinics and week-long courses, teaching more than 7,000 soccer coaches each year.