Named the seventh coach in Troy Soccer history back on Jan. 30, 2017, head coach Ged O’Connor enters his fourth season as the man in charge of the Trojans soccer program.
Coming of a program record seven Sun Belt Conference victories and 12 overall victories, O’Connor led the Trojans to a second-place finish, finishing just two points out of the programs first Sun Belt Conference title. Troy’s 12 overall victories in 2019 are the most a Troy team has recorded since 2015 (14-4-2). The Trojans ended the regular season on a nine-match unbeaten streak (8-0-1) overall and recorded six clean sheets.
Improving on a 5-14-1 (4-6-0, Sun Belt) record in 2018 the Trojans scored 41 goals in 2019, a 23-goal improvement from 2018 (18). Troy’s 41 goals were the third most in program history and the second most in the Sun Belt Conference.
The Trojans pitched five shutouts defensively and won the final two games of the regular season without allowing a goal. Natalie Melillo was fifth in conference with 14 points (four goals, six assists), while Acelya Aydogmus finished fourth with five clean sheets.
In his first season with the Trojans, O'Connor led the team to an 8-10-2 overall record and a 6-4-0 mark in conference play finishing third. Troy finished tied for third in the league in scoring with 35 goals, second with 30 assists and tied for first with eight shutouts. Senior Haley Roberson and sophomore Julia Winter were named Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference. Winter finished third in the Sun Belt with nine goals on the season.
O’Connor came to Troy after spending 11 seasons as the head coach at Saint Leo University, located 35 miles north of Tampa, where he compiled a 123-66-12 record and led the program to seven NCAA Division II Tournament appearances.
In 2016, the Lions finished with a 13-4-1 record and a 7-1-1 record in the SSC for a first place finish. They took down No. 9 Nova Southeastern 2-0 on October 25 and No. 25 Rollins on Nov. 4 on their way to capturing both the SSC Regular Season title and SSC Tournament crown, the first time in program history the team swept both titles.
Following the 2016 season, the Lions finished No. 17 in the NSCAA poll following the season where they ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. O’Connor saw two players earn NSCAA All-America honors as Selena Jaimes and Arielle Kabangu were named to the NSCAA Third Team All-America. The Lions had three players named to the NSCAA First Team All-South Region in Jaimes, Kabangu and Natalie Melillo, where Katie Waddell was named Second Team All-South Region.
The Lions placed four on the All-SSC teams, with Arielle Kabangu being named the Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, and Selena Jaimes being named the Defensive Player of the Year. O’Connor was named the SSC Coach of the Year after the team posted seven wins in the conference, which ties the most wins in the SSC in program history.
O’Connor took over as the Lions' head coach in 2006, leading the team to the most successful season in program history. Saint Leo set a program record for fewest losses (3) and earned the team's first-ever bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Lions also advanced to their first-ever SSC Tournament Final after a runner-up finish in the regular season. Saint Leo was 14-3-2 overall and 6-2 in the SSC, during a season that included an eight-game unbeaten run to start the year and a seven-match winning streak late in the season.
During his four seasons as an assistant, O'Connor assisted in all phases of running the program with a special emphasis on goalkeeping and recruiting. He has been a major part of the rise of a program that has posted a combined record of 31-15-4 over the last three years.
Prior to making a return to coaching with the SLU staff in 2002, he was a professional Irish dancer in 2001-02.
The 1999 graduate of Webber International University was the starting goalkeeper for four years at the NAIA school. He was named to the Scholar-Athlete All-Region team at Webber. O'Connor graduated with a 3.79-grade point average. During the summer of 1997, he was a member of the Runcorn FC Division 5 team in England, a semi-pro team.
He was named assistant coach of the University of Southern Mississippi women's soccer team in July 1999. He was a camp director in 2000 at Southern Mississippi's residential camp for 350 players, and also served as state ODP goalkeeper director.
From August of 2000 to April of 2001, O'Connor was director of coaching for the Northeast Louisiana Soccer Association where he supervised and administered the training and development of over 1,500 youth soccer players between the ages of five and 19.
O’Connor earned his MBA from Saint Leo University in May of 2004. He also now holds an NSCAA National Goalkeeping License Level II and an NSCAA Premier diploma. In addition, the Manchester, England, native is also a member of the NSCAA coaching education staff and the chairperson of the NSCAA Regional Rankings and South Region Committees.