Russell Payne enters his ninth season as the head men's soccer coach at Army West Point. During his eight seasons as head coach, Payne has led the Black Knights to a 55-65-24 overall record.
This past year, the Black Knights posted their second consecutive nine-win season. Under Payne's watch, five Cadets garnered All-Patriot League accolades, including Zac McGraw, who was tabbed the league's defensive player of the year for the second straight season. Additionally, for the first time since the 1959 campaign, four Cadets were honored with all-region honors.
Army finished 9-8-2 during the 2016 campaign and reached the Patriot League Tournament for the fourth year in a row. The Black Knights defeated Air Force and Navy to mark the first year they have topped both service academies in the same season since 2007.
The Black Knights compiled a 4-4-1 record in Patriot League action and had five players earn All-Patriot League mention at the conclusion of the regular season. Freshman Zac McGraw led the way with a first-team nod, while seniors Christian Clark and Tanner Vosvick, junior Marcos Arroyo, and freshman Rex Epps were all named to the third team.
Epps finished with 11 goals during the 2016 campaign to mark the most by a Black Knight since John Brence (USMA ’91) scored 12 goals in 1988.
Payne led Army to a 5-8-5 record and its third consecutive Patriot League Tournament appearance in 2015. The Black Knights also defeated service academy-rival Navy for the first time 2008, with a 2-1 victory over the Midshipmen on Nov. 3, 2015 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Three Black Knights were selected to All-Patriot League teams at the conclusion of the regular season, including Cameron Niccum (second team), Christian Clark and Tanner Vosvick (third team).
During the 2014 campaign, Payne guided Army to a 6-8-6 record.
Four members of the team were honored with All-Patriot League selections, including Winston Boldt and Clark, who were named to the first team. Justin Kim was voted to the second team and Sean Mogan was named to the third team.
Boldt received a number of additional accolades during the season, including selection to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. The senior was also a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award and joined Jeff Pickett and Daniel Newell as the only Army players to garner NSCAA Scholar All-America honors.
Boldt was honored as Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year for the second consecutive season. Boldt recorded eight shutouts to become the program’s career leader, finishing his time at Army with 24 clean sheets.
In 2013, Payne he helped Army to one of the most-successful seasons in program history, guiding the team to a 12-3-3 overall finish. Army collected at least 12 victories for the fifth time in program history during the 2013 campaign, and did so for the first time since 1993.
Under Payne's watch, the Black Knights went 6-2-1 in the Patriot League in 2013 and reached the conference tournament for the first time since 1996.
Five Army players earned All-Patriot League awards in 2013, including Boldt and Vosvick, who were named the conference's Goalkeeper of the Year and Rookie of the Year, respectively. Also earning all-league recognition were Kim (second team), Mogan (third team) and Niccum (third team).
Boldt also earned National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America honors after the junior goalkeeper posted an Academy-record 12 shutouts. Boldt became the first Black Knight since 1974 to achieve All-America status.
Payne, who was introduced as the 11th head coach in program history in December 2009, helped the Black Knights snap a three-game winless streak versus arch-rival Navy in 2012, as the two service academies played to a 1-1 draw at the first annual Army-Navy Cup at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Army finished with a 4-10-3 overall record and a 1-3-3 mark in the Patriot League that season.
Payne brings wide-ranging soccer experience away from West Point, including his current position as goalkeepers coach for the United States Men’s National Team.
Payne first worked with the senior national team during an international friendly against Panama in February 2015 before eventually serving as the full-time goalkeepers coach on head coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s staff. Payne assisted with Team USA at the 2015 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup and the 2016 Copa America.
During the summer of 2013, Payne served as an assistant coach for the United States U-20 squad that played in the World Cup in Istanbul, Turkey. He returned to the international tournament, working as an assistant coach during the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Payne guided a young Army squad to a 7-10-1 overall record in 2011. The Black Knights finished the year with a 2-4-1 Patriot League mark and just missed qualifying for the conference's postseason tournament. Army’s seven victories in 2011 were the most in four seasons.
Additionally, Payne helped Jeff Pickett and Josh Koeppe earn All-Patriot League honors, giving Army two players on the all-conference team in the same season for the first time since Daniel Newell and John Borland earned the honors in 2006.
Payne began his Army coaching career by guiding the Black Knights to a 3-12-2 overall record in 2010. Army ended his initial season at West Point on a high note, posting a 2-1-2 mark over its final five matches of 2010.
In Payne's first year, Army cut its goals-against average nearly in half, from 2.20 in 2009 to 1.22 in 2010. The Black Knights also snapped an 11-game Patriot League losing streak with a 1-1 tie at Lafayette late in the season. Army's offense generated 14 goals and 18 assists after totaling a mere nine goals and six assists in 2009. Army's 18 assists ranked fourth in the Patriot League. Payne also helped Pickett earn All-Patriot League second-team honors, becoming the first Army player to earn conference recognition since Newell took home first-team laurels in 2007.
Payne arrived at West Point after five years as an assistant coach at national power Maryland where he helped lead his alma mater to five-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including a pair of national championships in 2005 and 2008. Maryland totaled 83 victories with Payne on the coaching staff, which is the best five-year mark in school history and ranks the third-highest total in the country since 2005.
During his stay in College Park, Md., Payne mentored eight NSCAA All-Americans, 15 All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selections, an NSCAA Player of the Year, a pair of Academic All-Americans, an NCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and 12 Major League Soccer (MLS) draft picks. The Terrapins also achieved the highest graduation success rate in the ACC.
In 2009, the Terps advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, finishing with a 15-6-2 record. In 2008, Payne was part of a school-record-setting squad that compiled a 23-3 record on its way to its second national championship in four years. A 1-0 win over arch-rival North Carolina in the College Cup final capped a program-best 16-match win streak that also marked the team's 15th shutout of the season - also a record. The team's ACC Tournament championship made Payne the first former Maryland player to win the title as a coach and a player. Five members of the squad were taken in the first 25 picks of the MLS Draft, including two of the first six selections.
Maryland played its way to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2007 with a 10-6-5 record as well as in 2006 with a 16-5-1 mark. Two Maryland players were taken among the top-four picks of the 2006 MLS Draft. After Toronto FC selected Maurice Edu with the top pick, Chris Seitz, who was coming off a sophomore campaign that included being named the ACC Player of the Year, was taken fourth overall by Real Salt Lake.
In Payne's first year on the sideline in 2005, Maryland rolled to its first National Championship since 1968 with a 19-4-2 record that included an ACC regular-season title and a school-record 66 goals scored during the year. Hermann Trophy winner and ACC Player of the Year Jason Garey, who finished his career as the Terrapins' all-time leader in goals and points, was the third player selected in the MLS Draft.
Payne, a U.S. Soccer Federation coach, came to Maryland after a decorated professional career throughout Europe and in the United States. The highlight came in 2002 when he was named the Premier League of Ireland Goalkeeper of the Year during his second season with Derry City. His career also included stays with SV Elversberg (Germany), Shamrock Rovers (Ireland) and AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands), as well as stints in the MLS with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars, the Colorado Rapids and DC United.
The Columbia, Md., native has an extensive international coaching record to his credit. Payne most recently finished his second cycle as a U.S. National Team U-20 assistant coach/goalkeeper coach, traveling with the team for tournaments in Northern Ireland, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Currently a U.S. Soccer Development Academy staff member, he serves as a scout for the U-17 through U-23 national team programs. Payne's experience also includes serving as the head coach of the Potomac Cougars U-18 club team for four years, the DC United Academy Goalkeeping coach and most recently the Potomac Soccer Club Director of Goalkeeping.
Payne's collegiate coaching experience started at George Washington University in 1997-98 as a volunteer goalkeeper coach under Shannon Higgins-Cirovski after a season as the graduate assistant goalkeeper coach with the Maryland men in 1997.
One of renowned head coach Sasho Cirovski's first blue-chip recruits at Maryland, Payne started in goal for four years and anchored the squad to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He shined brightest as a senior, leading the ACC with an .835 save percentage and 0.88 goals against average while helping Maryland to its first-ever ACC Tournament Championship and garnering All-Tournament honors. A second-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore, Payne totaled 22.5 shutouts and 340 saves during his career at Maryland. His 10-save performance opposite Duke on Sept. 29, 1996 still stands as a single-game record in the Terrapin annals.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1998, Payne was the recipient of the Benjamin Banneker Fellowship for Math and Science.
Payne and his wife, Vanessa, reside at West Point, N.Y., with their daughter, Harper Elizabeth, and son, Kellen James.