Eric Alsop enters his 17th season at the helm of the Limestone men’s soccer program. During his tenure, Alsop has guided the Saints to new heights, including 13 consecutive top-3 finishes in conference play, five Conference Carolinas Tournament Championships (2006, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018), five Conference Carolinas Regular Season Titles (2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018), eight NCAA Tournament appearances (2006, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), and five final NSCAA national rankings.
Not only has the program reached a new standard in recent years, Alsop’s players have also seen tremendous success on an individual level. Under his guidance, the program has produced eight All-Americans, 68 All-Southeast Region selections, 95 All-Conference Team honorees, five Conference Carolinas Freshmen of the Year, one Conference Carolinas Offensive Player of the Year, and one Conference Carolinas Defensive Player of the Year.
In the true spirit of Division II athletics, the members of Alsop’s programs have also performed well in the classroom with numerous players being named to the Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll. In all, Alsop’s program has produced 36 Academic All-Conference members, three Conference Carolinas Scholar Athletes of the Year, 21 Scholar All-Region, six Academic All-District selections, and nine Academic/Scholar All-Americans. Additionally, the team earned its 11th consecutive NSCAA College Team Academic Award by posting a combined team GPA above a 3.0 for the academic year.
Limestone swept the Conference Carolinas Regular Season and Tournament Championships for a second straight year and for the fourth time in program history this past season, registering a 13-4-1 overall record and an 8-2 mark in conference. The Saints went 4-1-1 in extra time matches during the 2018 season, including a pair of overtime contests in the conference tournament. Limestone qualified for the NCAA Tournament for a sixth straight year, earning Alsop conference coach of the year honors.
The Blue and Gold swept the Conference Carolinas Regular Season and Tournament Championships for the third time in team history after posting a 15-3-2 overall record and a 9-0-1 mark in league play in 2017. Alsop guided the Saints to a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance a year ago, and would wrap the season up ranked No. 15 nationally.
Traditionally known for its offensive prowess, Limestone boasted one of the nation’s top defenses a year ago as the team ranked sixth in Division II with a .532 goals against average. The Saints were sixth in the country with 12 shutouts, and set a program record with five consecutive shutout victories.
He led the Blue and Gold to a fourth straight NCAA Tournament during the 2016 campaign and advanced in the national championship field for a third consecutive season with a thrilling 2-1 overtime win over No. 22 Lander. The Saints posted a 16-4 overall record with a 9-1 mark in conference play.
Alsop guided the Saints to a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth overall during the 2015 season. Limestone finished with a 16-5 ledger after advancing in the national tournament behind a 3-1 win over Carson-Newman in the opening round.
Limestone won its third straight Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship during the 2014 season, clinching it outright for the first time with a 10-0 league record. The Saints went 16-3-1 overall – the highest winning percentage in team history – to earn a second constructive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Blue and Gold, who finished the year ranked No. 10 in the NSCAA rankings, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history with a dramatic 1-0 overtime win over Wingate in the second round.
For the first time in his career, Alsop earned Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year honors for the team’s achievements in 2014. The award was made even more memorable as Limestone swept all four major conference awards: Coach of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Offensive Player of the Year. The 2014 team also featured a program-record four All-American award winners.
Alsop led the Saints to back-to-back regular season and tournament championships during the 2013 season, finishing 15-4 overall with a 7-1 mark in league play. The Saints secured their second straight Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship with a 2-1 win over Erskine and picked up an NCAA Tournament bid for the third time in program history. The Blue and Gold were selected as the top seed in the Southeast Regional, earning a first-round bye. Limestone finished the year ranked No. 21 in the final NSCAA/Continental Tire National Poll.
In 2012, Alsop guided the Saints to the program’s first ever Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship after posting an 8-1-1 record in league play. Limestone completed the championship sweep in the Conference Carolinas Tournament, clinching the team’s second title in seven years with a convincing 6-1 win over Barton in the championship game. Limestone finished the season with an overall record of 13-5-1.
Limestone was the nation’s most prolific offense in 2011, leading all NCAA Division II programs with a 3.05 goals per game average after finding the back of the net 58 times. The Saints notched their sixth consecutive season with 10 wins or more after concluding the year with a 12-7 overall record.
The success of that season came on the heels of a spectacular 2010 campaign in which Limestone finished the season ranked eighth in the nation with a 2.72 goals per game average while outscoring opponents 26-4 at home on Saints Field.
Under Alsop’s leadership, the Saints finished off an impressive 2008 season with a No. 23 ranking in the NSCAA national poll with several players earning individual honors. They finished the season ranked 10th (out of 172 teams) in the nation in scoring offense, 11th in won-lost-tied percentage (.810), and 13th in shutout percentage (.480). As a result, seven players were named to the All-Conference team, three received All-Region recognition, and one earned All-American honors.
Alsop initiated the turnaround of the men’s soccer program during his fourth season as head coach at Limestone in 2006. The Saints (13-3-6 overall/6-2-2 conference) earned their first national ranking, won their first conference tournament championship title, and made their first appearance in the NCAA national tournament. They finished the season ranked 19th in the nation, won the final Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Tournament Championship, advanced to the Sweet Sixteen” in the NCAA Tournament, and were named the 2006 NCAA Division II Most Improved Team in the Nation.
Alsop came to Limestone from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a Division II member of the Peach Belt Conference. At UNCP, he served as an assistant coach for the men’s soccer program for two seasons while completing his Master of Arts in Physical Education. During his tenure at UNCP, Alsop helped the team earn the distinction of being named the 2001 NCAA Division II Most Improved Team in the Nation.
Prior to joining UNCP’s staff, Alsop coached both boys’ and girls’ high school varsity soccer at Forestview (1998-2001) and Ashbrook (1996-1998) in Gaston County, N.C. During his prep coaching career, Alsop had a combined overall record of 102-31-4 (.759), earning two conference titles and five state playoff bids. For his coaching accomplishments, Alsop was twice named the Southwestern 3A Conference Coach of the Year (1998, 2001).
Alsop holds many leadership roles in collegiate soccer, including active memberships on the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Committee and the NSCAA Southeast Regional Committee, as well as currently serving as the chair for both the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Advisory Committee and the Conference Carolina’s Men’s Soccer Committee. He also spent two seasons as head coach for the 1991 South Carolina Boys ODP Program (2006-2008). Alsop holds a NSCAA Premier Diploma, the highest coaching accreditation awarded by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Originally from Fabius, N.Y., Alsop played collegiately for the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego from 1991-1994, where he was named to the SUNYAC All-Academic Team and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education.
Coach Alsop and his wife Sarah welcomed daughter Helena Stiles Alsop to the family early in 2014 and son Jason Brooks Alsop in 2016. The Alsop family currently resides in Boiling Springs, S.C.