Brookhaven College’s soccer coaching staff are recognized after leading the 2017 women’s soccer team to their first national championship title.
By Victoria Valdez
The Brookhaven College women’s soccer coaches were awarded Regional Coaching Staff of the Year Jan. 18 at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia. The coaches earned the recognition, after the Brookhaven women’s soccer team was declared national champions of the National Junior College Athletics Association Division III last season.
Jim Elder, head soccer coach, accepted the award on behalf of his team. “I was most happy it was an award for the coaching staff because we did it together, and I could not have done it without my assistant coaches,” he said.
Dennis Garza, assistant coach, said he was not surprised to win the Regional Staff of the Year award because the coaches have all the elements that create a great staff, such as great recruiters, scouters and supporters.
The Brookhaven coaches were also recognized for other achievements at the convention. Elder said, “We were mentioned at the annual coaches award reception, which was a first.” He said Brookhaven’s women’s soccer team was listed on the giant national rankings board for the first time.
According to the Philadelphia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau website, the USC was founded in 1941 and is the world’s largest soccer coaches association. The convention draws more than 11,500 attendees from all over the U.S. and other countries across the globe.
Elder said the USC features coaching sessions from some of the world’s top coaches, hosts professional league meetings, drafts players and recognizes the top players and coaches from across the globe.
Head Soccer Coach
Jim Elder has coached the Brookhaven women’s soccer team for the past two seasons. He was born in Houston, but has spent most of his life in Dallas. He played soccer at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, but left his senior year to play professional soccer. He played for the Oklahoma City Slickers, the Dallas Americans and Houston Dynamos of the American Professional Soccer League and the United Professional Soccer League. After his professional soccer career, he attended The University of Texas at Dallas and earned his bachelor of business administration.
At Brookhaven, Elder was named Metro Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017. Elder led the women’s soccer team to its first MAC Conference Tournament Championship, second appearance at the NJCAA National Championship Tournament and its first national championship title.
Elder said his favorite thing about coaching the women’s soccer team is working with student athletes who love soccer and want to be the best.
Assistant Soccer Coach
Robert Williams has coached at Brookhaven for the past three seasons. Williams was born in Bermuda where he played and coached soccer for a local club. “I came [to Dallas] and the opportunity presented itself to be an assistant coach to a women’s college team and it’s been a great journey,” Williams said. “There’s nothing I would replace this experience for in the world.”
Assistant Soccer Coach
Dennis Garza was raised in Garland, Texas, and works for the Masonic Philosophical Society as membership director. Garza has helped recruit and scout Brookhaven players for Elder the past two seasons.
Garza’s favorite thing about coaching is seeing the team develop into better players. “I’m very passionate about team building and trying to build organizations that make the community a better place,” he said.
Emily Hamilton coached her first season at Brookhaven in Fall 2016. She previously interned for the United Soccer Coaches Convention. Hamilton is from Keller, Texas, and earned her bachelor’s degree at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri and received her master’s degree at Texas Woman’s University.
“I enjoy working with the goalkeepers, building relationships with the players and gaining more experience,” Hamilton said. Her favorite memory from her first season is the goal that was scored by Deshae Darrell, who helped lead the Bears to their first national championship.