THATCHER, Ariz. –– When the Eastern Arizona College women’s soccer team takes the field on Aug. 19 for the first games ever held in the Gila Valley, they will be under the direction of Coach Charles Long, one of college soccer’s premier coaches.
“I chose EAC because of Coach Long,” said Kylee Holt, a freshman from Eagle Mountain, Utah. “He has a whole bunch of ideas and can see the game really well and how it should flow.”
Long comes to EAC from Snow College where he coached both men’s and women’s soccer programs. During his three seasons at Snow, he led the men’s team to a 33-14-1 overall record and the women’s team to a 41-7-3 overall record. Long made school history when his men’s team went to nationals in 2021. Under his direction, the men’s team defeated Salt Lake Community College – the #1 ranked team in the nation – to win the Region 18 Title. Coach Long’s women’s team won back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles in 2021 and 2022, made two trips to nationals, and had an undefeated 19-0 record in regular season games. For his efforts at Snow, Long was named the 2022 SWAC Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 13-2-1 overall record during the season.
“I was friends with some of the girls who played for Coach Long at Snow and they liked his coaching style a lot,” said Holt. “He knows how to get our team to work together and focus on the bigger picture.”
Long brings 30 years of youth, high school, junior college and university coaching experience to EAC. Though he is originally from Richmond, Va., he spent the first 18 years of his life living in Brazil. He is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish, tools he uses to help international student-athletes adjust to life at EAC.
“Our team is from all over the world,” said Holt. “Sometimes it’s difficult to communicate with each other but Coach Long can explain everything very well so everyone knows their jobs.”
Prior to coaching at Snow College, Long spent two seasons as the head men’s and women’s soccer coach at Cloud Country Community College in Concordia, Kan., where he compiled a record of 29-7-1 with the women’s team, and a 27-8-1 record with the men’s team. His career also includes stops at the University of West Florida (1986-93), Mount Mary College (2002-04), and Western Texas College (2008-2012) where he started both men and women programs, leading them to national rankings along with a handful of youth coaching positions across North and South America.
Long was drafted by the Oklahoma City Slickers of the American Soccer League but turned in down for a chance with Chicago Sting in 1982 before a knee injury sidelined his playing career. Later in his career, he started and was a player coach with the Montgomery Capitals USISL. His first coaching job came at Belhaven College from 1982-86, where he fell in love with the profession.
“We hope the community will come watch us play,” said Holt. “I think we are going to surprise a lot of people. We’re a first-year team but our playing is strong so come out and watch.”
The public is invited to EAC’s free “Soccer Siege” on the Gila Valley to watch Coach Long and his Gila Monster women’s team take on the College of Southern Nevada Coyotes. The men’s and women’s soccer games kick off on Aug. 19, at John Mickelson Field. Gates open at 4 p.m. with the women starting at 5 p.m. and the men kicking off at 7 p.m. Admission is free and the match will feature raffles, food trucks, merch, and EAC’s Band.