Matthew Thorne is entering his fourth season at the helm of the men's soccer program in 2022.
On Thursday, December 27, 2018, Auburn University at Montgomery Director of Athletics Jessie Rosa named Thorne the sixth head coach of the men’s soccer program at AUM. Thorne, the 2017 Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year, comes to Montgomery from the University of West Alabama in Livingston, Ala., where he began the men’s program in 2012.
Thorne has amassed a career record 101-54-18 as a Head Coach. As the gaffer of UWA men’s soccer, Thorne went 78-43-9, going 48-23-4 in league play. The Tigers won the GSC Tournament Championship four years in a row from 2014-2017, while also winning the regular season championship in 2015 and 2017. In 2017 UWA reached the Third Round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament for the first time in program history while compiling a 16-3-1 record.
The men's soccer program took a massive next step in its NCAA membership in 2021, making a postseason run that saw them advance all the way to the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Postseason Tournament. The Warhawks recorded a 1-0 double-overtime victory at #9 Tampa on Nov. 21 and a 0-0 draw with a 5-4 penalty-kick advancement at #1 Young Harris on Dec. 2 over the course of their postseason journey. Senior goalkeeper Alexander Kraus earned Gulf South Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors, in addition to being named to the All-GSC First Team. Kraus, who also earned D2CCA All-South Region First Team and United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Second Team Honors, finished the season with 10 clean sheets and a 0.57 goals against average that ranked fifth in the nation and marked for the second-lowest season GAA in program history. Arnaud Baron, Andrew Elkins, Jamos Hauk, and Phillip Spickenbaum all earned All-GSC second team honors, giving AUM a GSC-best five all-conference selections. Elkins also earned CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team honors for his efforts both on the pitch and in the classroom and United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Second-Team honors. The Warhawks conceded just 17 goals over 20 matches, for an average of 0.85 per game.
The Warhawks posted a record of 3-0-2 in the GSC Spring Championship Series in 2021, with a mark of 3-0-1 in conference play. AUM clinched first place in group b of the regular-season standings with a dramatic 2-1 home win over Shorter University on March 11, highlighted by an 81st minute goal from Charlie Elliott to help clinch the win. The Orange and Black outscored their opponents 10-5 in five matches while outshooting their opponents by an average of 15.4 shots to eight per contest. Phillip Spickenbaum led AUM with three goals and eight points while Eric Besse’s three assists marked for the team high. Keeper Alex Kraus posted a goal’s against average of 0.90 in 500 minutes in goal, in addition to logging a save percentage of 71 percent and pitching one shutout.
The Warhawks finished 9-6-3 in 2019, adding six wins from the previous season. Thorne received Gulf South Conference Co-Coach of the Years honors for leading the Orange and Black to a second-place regular-season finish, while posting a conference record of 6-2-3. Under Thorne's tutelage, the Warhawks earned 21 points in league play, and the rights to host a home playoff match as the number-two seed in the GSC Men's Soccer Quarterfinals in their first season of full-fledged membership in NCAA Division II. Alexander Wagner (1st Team), Arnaud Baron (2nd Team) and Thomas Carlile (2nd) were tabbed the program's first ever All-GSC selections under Thorne's guidance. Defensively, the Warhawk surrendered 17 fewer goals than in the 2018 season, while allowing their opponents to score just 1.11 goals per match. The Warhawks won six straight matches from Sept. 15 through Oct. 6, and went unbeaten in nine straight matches from Sept. 15 through Oct. 22.
In seven seasons with the Tigers have claimed GSC Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons with Thibault Charmey earning the accolade in 2013 and 2014. UWA has had 10 players named to the All-GSC teams, four named All-South Region and one Capital One All-American in 2016 and 2017. In addition, this past season saw Ali Brador named to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Men's Scholar All-America Team Third Team.
After the 2018 season Thorne coached the Birmingham Hammers of the fourth-division of the United Soccer League, leading the squad to its most wins in a season in team history.
Thorne began his coaching career at AUM in 2007 as a graduate assistant coach under former head coach Wulf Koch, graduating in 2009 with a Master of Business Administration degree.
In his first season with the then-Senators AUM won the NAIA Region XIII Championship, reaching the NAIA National Tournament Final Four. After three seasons with AUM Thorne became an assistant coach with Huntingdon College from 2009-2011, before becoming the first head coach in UWA history in August of 2011.
Thorne is a 2007 graduate from Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn. with a B.S. in Business and Sport Management, where he played four seasons for the Redhawks. During Thorne’s time at MMC, he helped the team achieve a Trans-South regular season and tournament championship in 2004. Thorne was a three-time all-Trans-South Team selection while garnering all-region and all-American accolades in 2006.
Following his collegiate career, Thorne played with the Palm Beach Pumas in the Professional Development League in the summer of 2006 and played with the semi-professional Icelandic second division team IH Hafnarfjordur in 2008.
Since 2007, Thorne has been a part of the Alabama Olympic Development Program. He also has a USSF National A coaching license to go along with a Level 1 and Level 2 Football Association of Ireland Coaching Badge. A native of Rush, County Dublin, Ireland, Thorne came through the prestigious College Prep program Colaiste Ide where he received “Achiever of the Year” in 2003.
Thorne and his wife Ashley have three daughters, Saoirse, Niamh and Ciara.