Lincoln Phillips became the first black to coach a professional soccer team as player-coach for the Washington Darts, who won the American Soccer League championship in 1968-69.
He also became the first black coach to win the NCAA soccer national championship at Howard University in 1971 and 1974. The success of Phillips’ collegiate teams, which were mainly made up of Caribbean and African players, was partly responsible for European soccer countries opening up their doors for players of the African Diaspora to ply their trade in Europe.
Howard University’s soccer story was brought to life this summer on ESPN when Spike Lee, one of the top black film writers in the world, produced "Redemption Song: The rise, fall and ultimate triumph of Howard soccer." The documentary can be viewed here.
An advocate for the advancement of black soccer coaches in the United States, Phillips was the Founder of the Black Soccer Coaches Association (BSCA). Its success is measured by the increase of black soccer coaches at every level in the United States.
The Lincoln Phillips Soccer School and the Top Flight Goalkeeping Academy have developed more than 25,000 youth players over the past 30 years. Many of them have gone on to collegiate, professional and national team success in the United States and abroad.
As a goalkeeper, Phillips led the Trinidad and Tobago national team to a bronze medal in the PanAm Games in 1967. In the early days of professional soccer in the United States, he was known for his outstanding play in the American Soccer League and North American Soccer League against some of the world’s greatest players including Brazilian maestro Pele.
As a coach, Phillips is certified at the highest level by the United States Soccer Federation. As an assistant coach for goalkeeping, he represented the U.S. Senior Men’s World Cup, Olympic and U-17 national teams. He helped prepare many goalkeepers to FIFA and Olympic competition. He also served as the first official FIFA goalkeeping coach.
He holds a master's degree in physical education and has been a featured clinician at leading soccer conventions around the world.
Phillips has been married 51 years to his childhood sweetheart, Linda, and they have four sons and five grandchildren.