Transylvania University

Transylvania University Pioneers Athletics
300 North Broadway Lexington, KY 40508
Division 3 Kentucky Midwest
Private Small Developing team


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Ben Federici

Ben Federici begins his first year as head coach of the Transylvania men’s soccer program ahead of the 2022 season.

Federici joins Transylvania from NCAA Division III Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, where he was most recently the Associate Head Coach.

"Transylvania men's soccer is a program with a great tradition of excellence,” states Federici on his new stewardship of the program. “I look to honor that tradition by building a program that helps young men become great people and great players during their time.”

Over his nine-year coaching career, Federici has quickly carved out a reputation for building winning teams. Federici arrives to the Pioneers from another winning program called the Pioneers at Marietta, his alma mater.

During Federici's six-year tenure on staff, Marietta produced five straight winning seasons, highlighted by an 11-6-3 campaign in the 2017 season in which the program finished the campaign ranked seventh in the Great Lakes Region. In his first three years as part of Marietta's coaching staff as an assistant coach, Federici helped power the Pioneers to three consecutive winning seasons, marking the second time in program history that the Pioneers have reached that milestone. Federici was elevated to the title of Associate Head Coach ahead of the 2021 season.

Federici's imprint at Marietta was felt especially on the defensive side of the pitch, where he pushed the team to setting a new school record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal. Federici orchestrated a defense which turned in nine clean sheets in the 2016 season and 17 clean sheets total between the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. In Federici's final season at Marietta, junior Dave Beattie won the OAC Defensive Player of the Year award.

With Federici on staff, the Pioneers qualified for the OAC Tournament in all five tournament-active seasons of his tenure.

Prior to re-joining the men's soccer program at Marietta, Federici spent three years as the assistant men's soccer coach at NCAA Division II University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio. His first application of a winning formula occurred at Findlay as the program notched its first winning record in 12 seasons. While at Findlay, Federici helped the Oilers drill five top 25 teams. Federici additionally accrued administrative experience at Findlay as an admissions department liaison to the athletic department.

Federici's Marietta roots originated during his playing days for the Pioneers where he won four varsity letters and appeared in 36 matches as a defender. His coaching experience began following an injury in his senior season of play, initializing a transition into a role of student assistant coach.

Federici graduated from Marietta College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and earned his Master of Business Administration at the University of Findlay.

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Matt Melzer

Matt Melzer, a 2017 graduate of Transylvania, enters his fourth year as an assistant coach for the Transylvania men’s soccer team for the Fall 2022 season.

In the 2021 campaign Melzer’s Pioneers had two All-HCAC selections, as senior Jak Birdsong was named to the First Team, and freshman Henry Roetker was an Honorable Mention selection. Members of the squad received Athlete of the Week honors twice, as the team finished 5-8-2 overall.

The Transylvania alum will now work alongside new head coach Ben Federici, as the duo will combine a fresh outside mindset as well as one that is certainly deep rooted and experienced within the program.

Melzer helped return the Pioneers to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship match in the abbreviated 2020 season, capping off an 8-2 overall record. He helped develop three All-HCAC First Team awardees, and seven All-HCAC winners in total.

In 2019, Melzer helped the Pioneers achieve a 7-2 record in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play along with a semifinal berth in the HCAC Tournament. Melzer was instrumental in the development of nine All-HCAC selections in the 2019 season, including HCAC Freshman of the Year Mitchell Crispin.

“Having Matt back with us is a huge addition for the program,” said former Transylvania head coach Matt Vogel, who had coached Melzer as a player as well. “He was a vital part of our team during his four years here and was an incredible leader, one of the best I’ve ever seen. Matt is someone who knows the program inside and out and knows what it’s like to be in our players’ shoes. He is a great coach and communicator and will be a tremendous asset to me, the players, the program, and the University as a whole.”

Since 2016, Melzer has expanded his coaching rapport while staying active in the Lexington community to bring a multifaceted perspective in his coaching role with Transylvania men’s soccer.

During his time away from Transylvania following graduation, Melzer has served as a head coach for multiple age groups and teams for the Lexington FC club soccer program, leading a U-17 squad to a state championship appearance in 2018. Melzer is currently the head coach of a Lexington FC U-15 team.

Along with his work as a soccer coach in Lexington, Melzer is also a personal trainer at Body Structure Medical Fitness Facility where he guides clients in exercise programs as well as implementing lifestyle modifications for long-term health. Melzer has supplemented his work and coaching experience with a credential as a certified personal trainer with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Melzer’s professional experiences follow a standout playing career at Transylvania from 2013 to 2016, a timespan which embodied leadership, winning, and coincided with the beginning of Vogel’s head coaching tenure at Transylvania.

Melzer began his playing career at Transylvania by receiving the Most Impactful Freshman team award and concluded with a Most Valuable Teammate team award. Melzer was also selected to the All-HCAC Second Team in 2016 in recognition of his high-level play.

During his four years with Transylvania, the Pioneers produced a record of 44 wins against 18 losses and 14 draws. Off the pitch, Melzer was a natural leader on campus as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and served as the SAAC President in his senior year.

In the next step of his soccer evolution, Melzer aims to return to current Pioneer men’s soccer players the lessons and insight he received as a player and in his coaching endeavors; “I want to take my soccer knowledge and experiences to give my perspective for training sessions and matches,” adds Melzer. “Having the opportunity to play at Transylvania has been a major highlight in my life and has positively shaped my character.”

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