Bulldog Soccer Academy
Assistant CoachT.J. Love
T.J. Love, who spent six years on the staff at Cornell, including helping to lead the Big Red to the 2012 Ivy League championship, begins his second season as an assistant coach at Yale. He will serve as the top assistant in 2017-18.
During his tenure in Ithaca, Cornell posted a 49-35-17 overall record, including four straight winning seasons from 2011 to 2014. In 2012, Love helped guide the Big Red to a 15-2 overall record, the school’s first Ivy championship since 1995 and its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996. Cornell was nationally ranked for much of the season and finished No. 20 in the final NSCAA poll.
Love was instrumental in changing the culture of the Cornell program. The team finished 8-2-6 in 2011 after going winless in Ivy play in 2010. In 2014, the Big Red had its fourth consecutive season above .500, allowed just 11 goals on the season and set a new school record with 11 shutouts.
Cornell broke the school record for lowest goals against average three times during his tenure.
Big Red players earned a number of individual accolades during Love’s time as well. He coached an Ivy League Player of the Year selection, a Hermann Trophy semifinalist and eight first team All-Ivy honorees. The team also shined in the classroom, earning an NSCAA Team Academic Award in 2014 and having a first team Academic All-American in 2013.
Love, a former player and team captain at Daemen College, spent the 2009 season as an assistant coach at Elmira College, where he earned a master’s degree in education.
In addition, Love has extensive experience coaching club soccer in the Southern Tier of New York.
Love is a native of Watkins Glen, N.Y.
“I am proud to be part of Yale Soccer, which is a program on the rise,” he said.
Assistant CoachJonathan Welsh
Jonathan Welsh begins his second year at Yale and first as an assistant coach in 2017-18. He served as Director of Operations and Player Personnel during the 2016-17 season.
Welsh came to New Haven after spending five years as an assistant coach at the Kinkaid School in Houston.
At Kinkaid, Welsh helped the boys varsity soccer team to a first-place finish in the Southzone in the Southwest Preparatory Conference for the first time in school history in 2013. Kinkaid won the crown again in 2016. He also worked as an English teacher for two years during his time at Kinkaid.
In addition, Welsh spent two years as the head coach for the U14 Houston Dynamo MLS Academy team which finished as high as third in the Texas Pre-Academy League.
Welsh is a 2008 graduate of Creighton University’s Honors Program where he played two seasons, helping the Bluejays advance to the quarterfinals of 2003 NCAA Tournament and the Sweet 16 of the 2004 Tournament. He then spent one season playing the University of Dayton, where he finished third on the team in points.
As a youth player, Welsh was a member of the Chelsea Football Club’s U19 premier team in England and was invited to a trial with Real Madrid’s U15 La Liga Youth Team.
Volunteer Goalkeeping CoachDrew Nucifora
Drew Nucifora, who enjoyed a standout career as a goalkeeper at Fairleigh Dickinson, begins his third season as a volunteer goalkeeping coach in 2017-18.
Nucifora, a Monroe, Conn., native, was an NSCAA third team All-American as a senior at FDU. He played every minute of every game for the Knights as a junior and senior and earned first team All-Mid Atlantic and All-Northeast Conference honors following the 2003 season.
In his senior year, he posted a 0.78 goals against average, an .820 save percentage and had six shutouts. In two seasons with the Knights, he tallied 13 shutouts.
Nucifora then went on to play professionally with the Puerto Rico Islanders and Fo.Ce.Vara in Italy.
Since retiring, Nucifora has served as a goalkeeping coach for a number of club soccer programs in Connecticut.
Director of Operations & Player PersonnelNate Kopunek
Nate Kopunek, who spent the last four years on the staff at George Mason, begins his first season as the Director of Operations & Player Personnel for the Yale men’s soccer program in 2017.
“Having Nate join us in this role says a lot about the positive direction we are moving,” said Kylie Stannard, The 5K Corral Head Coach of the Bulldogs. “To be able to attract someone with his experience from a very strong Division I program like George Mason shows great belief in the vision and ambition we have for the program. He has been mentored by several good coaches including head coach Greg Andrulis, also a former head coach in the MLS. Nate is already bringing great insight and ideas to our coaching staff. He is a very hard worker, brings a lot of positive energy and is passionate about helping our players and program strive for excellence.”
At George Mason, Kopunek helped the Patriots to a No. 12 national ranking and a final RPI of 33 in 2014. He mentored one All-America selection and three All-Region honorees. In addition, the Patriots had players signed by both the New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union and one who earned a spot on the U.S. U19 National team during his tenure.
"I am extremely humbled and honored to be able to work for such a prestigious institution in Yale,” Kopunek said. “I want to say thank you to Coach Stannard for this amazing opportunity. I am looking forward to joining the Bulldogs staff and helping the program continue to develop gentlemen and scholars in the classroom and on the pitch. Lastly, I would like to thank Coach Andrulis and George Mason University for giving me my start in college coaching."
In addition to his duties at George Mason, Kopunek coached at the club level on the Maryland United FC boys staff. His coaching experience also includes stints as an assistant coach with the Baltimore Bays Chelsea USSF Development Academy and the Fewster FC club. Additionally, he has helped with the D.C. United game day operations since 2007.
Kopunek is a 2014 graduate of Towson, earning a degree in business administration with a concentration in legal studies. While at Towson, he pursued an undergraduate coaching internship with the men’s soccer team where his responsibilities included setting up practice, videotaping games and reviewing game files for statistical analysis. He eventually earned a walk-on spot on the roster before the program was disbanded. Prior to Towson, Kopunek spent the 2009-10 academic year at George Mason where he served as the manager for the men’s soccer team.