PHILADELPHIA – Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) Associate Vice President of Athletics Tom Shirley announced the hiring of Socrates Nicolaidis as head women's soccer coach on Friday.
Nicolaidis joined the Rams' staff as an assistant coach for the 2018 campaign, in which Jefferson finished 7-10-1 and reached the CACC quarterfinals. He takes over for George Dunbar, who retired after posting a 225-140-42 record (.604) in 20 seasons. This is Nicolaidis' second stint with the school after serving on the staff in 2009-10 as a specialist coach.
"We had a very good pool of candidates and great input from many of the players," said Shirley. "In the end, we felt Socrates indicated a true desire to be at the University, work with the players and move the program in a positive direction. We are excited for the future of the program with Socrates at the helm."
"I am very honored and blessed to coach at Jefferson," said Nicolaidis. "It's been a long-term goal of mine to coach at the collegiate level and the timing is right. I am looking to raise the bar for the program both on and off the field and how we approach training and game day. I will be searching far and wide to bring in the best student-athletes into our program to allow us to compete at the regional and national level."
Nicolaidis' coaching experience spans over three decades and two continents. He is especially proud of the work he has done in raising the technical and tactical standards of play for amateur youth players and professional soccer organizations in the United States and Australia. Socrates has coached and guided over 150+ female student-athletes during his time in the United States, having moved here in 1999.
Nicolaidis was the founder and head coach of the Youth Soccer Alliance. In operation from 2002-2013, Youth Soccer Alliance was a company that trained and coached numerous clubs throughout Central and Southern New Jersey, providing these clubs and their players professional age-appropriate training to which they might not otherwise have access.
He also was the founder and director of the South Jersey United FC. SJUFC was created to fill a void in South Jersey (considered a hotbed of youth soccer in the USA) for an organization that focused exclusively on the development of the area's top female soccer players. The club comprised of U13, U14, U20 and senior teams that competed in the WPSL.
As a player himself, in 1977, Nicolaidis became the youngest player (15 years, 360 days) to play a professional game for South Melbourne FC, a record which still stands today. He was also a five-year starter for Victorian Youth State Teams in the national championships from 1974-79, captain of South Melbourne FC Youth Teams from 1974-79, a member of the Australian National U20 Team in 1979, all before receiving a scholarship to attend the Australian Institute of Sport Football Program in 1981.
A native of Melbourne, Australia, Nicolaidis and his wife, Donna, have lived in New Jersey since 1999. He has earned numerous coaching licenses from the FFA, US Club Soccer, USSF and Australian Soccer Federation.