The 2011 Horizon League Coach of the Year, Mike Avery begins his seventh year at the helm of the Crusader men’s soccer program in 2013.
Avery guided the Crusaders to a berth in the Horizon League semifinals in 2012, the third time in the last four seasons Valpo has advanced that far in the league postseason. Along the way, the Crusaders matched the program record for most consecutive games without a loss, as Valpo went undefeated in six consecutive games in October, four of which were Horizon League contests. Four Crusaders earned postseason honors from the Horizon League, highlighted by the repeat selection of Kyle Zobeck as Goalkeeper of the Year.
Following the season, Zobeck was drafted in the MLS Supplemental Draft by FC Dallas, the second straight season Valpo has had a selection in the league’s supplemental draft. He then became the first Crusader alum in program history to sign an MLS contract, inking a deal with FC Dallas. Meanwhile, Stefan Antonijevic signed a professional deal in the U.S. as well, joining the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL.
2011 saw Avery lead the Crusaders as they captured Valpo’s first Horizon League title in any team sport, finishing the league slate with a 5-1-2 record and earning the right to host the Horizon League Championship. Avery, who guided Valpo to a 9-6-5 overall record in 2011, was named the league’s Coach of the Year while coaching the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year (Antonijevic) and Goalkeeper of the Year (Zobeck), as well as five other All-League honorees.
2011 continued a tradition of success that Avery has raised the bar to for Valparaiso men’s soccer. The 2011 season was the Crusaders’ third consecutive winning campaign after enjoying just one winning season in the 24 seasons prior to Avery’s arrival, including a school-record 10 victories in 2009. Over his first six years, Avery’s sides have posted six of the top nine defensive seasons in program history. Under his watch, 24 players have earned All-League accolades, including four Goalkeeper of the Year honorees (Ryan Schwarz: 2007, 2009; Zobeck: 2011, 2012) and one Defensive Player of the Year (Antonijevic, 2011). He has also seen four players go on to play professional soccer.