Robert Spain was tabbed the seventh head coach in the history of the Lincoln Memorial University men’s soccer program in January 2019 and enters his second season as the Railsplitters’ lead man.
In his first season at the helm of the program, Spain led the team to a 6-8-3 (5-4-1 SAC) record and secured their 13th straight appearance in the conference tournament. During the season, the team earned key shutout results against three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament (Lee (road draw), Queens (home win), and Wingate (road draw)). Despite freshmen earning nearly 50 percent of the possible starts, the team excelled defensively, leading the league in goals against average with less than one per game and finishing second in goal differential. They were also rewarded for their fair play with the SAC Sportsmanship award and finished the year with a cumulative 3.43 GPA, earning them United Soccer Coaches team academic award.
Spain came to LMU following a two-year tenure with Major League Soccer (MLS) club Columbus Crew SC, where he was hired by current U.S. Men's National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter to serve as the club’s first head academy scout.
During his two years in Columbus, Ohio, Spain worked with 18 players who were called up to U.S. Youth National Team camps and 14 players who were brought in to train with the first team. Five academy products from Spain's tenure have since signed homegrown professional contracts with Major League Soccer - Aboubacar Keita, Aidan Morris, Sebastian Berhalter, Juan Castilla, and Tyler Wolff. Aiding Crew SC academy players during their collegiate recruitment process, Spain helped players sign scholarships with Wake Forest, Akron, Stanford, Georgetown, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio State, North Carolina and Notre Dame, among many others.
Prior to working in the professional ranks, Spain was an assistant coach at NCAA Division I programs Northern Illinois and Duquesne. During his time as an assistant at Northern Illinois, Spain worked on staff alongside current U.S. Soccer Talent Identification Manager and USYNT assistant coach Garrett Biller.
While an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Duquesne, Spain produced the program’s first top-25 recruiting class after signing three players ranked among the top 150. Responsible for training the goalkeepers, Spain helped lead the Dukes during the 2016 season to nine shutouts, including an all-time program record of seven consecutive shutouts spanning over 750 consecutive shutout minutes.
Before coaching at the Division I level, Spain was the head coach at Division III University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg where he worked with current LMU assistant coach Dan Keefe. Spain inherited a Pitt-Greensburg program coming off a 3-16 season and immediately orchestrated a 12-7-1 record in 2014, completing one of the fastest one-year turnarounds in Division III history.
Prior to getting into collegiate coaching, Spain spent two seasons at MLS LA Galaxy where he worked in the front office during the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup Championship seasons.
As a student-athlete, Spain was a goalkeeper and captain at Division II University of Charleston where he played under 2009 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year Chad Duernberger. During his time at UC the program saw an unprecedented turnaround, snapping a 30-match winless streak in 2008 before finishing the 2009 season with a 19-4 record. Winning both the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) regular season and conference tournament titles, the Golden Eagles reached the Division II Elite Eight.
Spain graduated cum laude at the University of Charleston in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sport administration. He was recognized with the Jones Division of Business Outstanding Senior Award and received the NCAA Division II Athletic Directors Association (ADA) Academic Achievement Award.
A member of the United Soccer Coaches, Spain holds his Premier Diploma, Advanced National Diploma and National Diploma. He is also a member of the Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA) after completing the PFSA Level 2 Talent Identification course during the 2018 Generation Adidas Cup alongside MLS scouts, general managers and technical directors.
Coach Spain resides in Harrogate, Tennessee, with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Stella.