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Rudland named first head coach of Lansing soccer franchise

PUBLISHED ON: October 11, 2013

Veteran soccer coach Eric Rudland has been named the first head coach and general manager for Lansing’s new NPSL soccer franchise, which starts play in the spring of 2014.

“Eric is the perfect coach to lead our team out for the first time,” said team owner Jeremy Sampson.  “He will also be in a position to help determine the makeup of the roster as the general manager.  Eric knows the Midwest and will be able to attract quality players, as well as those with local ties to the Lansing area.”

“I’m excited for the great opportunity,” said Rudland, who served as an assistant coach for the Michigan Bucks of the PDL last summer.  “When I discussed the job with Jeremy, I saw that he wants to do this the right way, not just go through the motions.  We’ll build our team with as many players from the area as we can, and fill in with other good players where we need.”

“I want to have an attacking team, one that’s fun for the fans to watch,” said Rudland.  “Once we know who we can sign, we’ll start fitting them into our philosophy.  I think the fans will be very happy with the product that we put on the field.”

Rudland has coaching experience in the USA and in England, serving as the head coach for Spring Arbor University from 2011 to 2012.  He led the Cougars to two tournament finals, including a championship in the 2012 Crossroads League tournament.  His 16-4-2 record that season earned the NSCAA/NAIA Mid-East Region Coach of the Year award, as well as a nomination for NAIA National Coach of the Year.  Spring Arbor won 11 games in 2011 after winning just 2 the previous season.

“Eric has shown that he can hit the ground running,” said Sampson.  “It’s important that as an expansion franchise, we have a coach who can integrate new players quickly.  Eric’s track record is excellent and we think he can continue to do that.”

Rudland was on the staff for Crewe Alexandra FC in England from 2004-05 serving under Dario Gradi, one of the most respected coaches in Europe in youth player development.  He is the only American coach to ever work for Crewe, one of the oldest teams in the sport.  Rudland was on the bench as for a Carling Cup match against Manchester United in 2004.

His extensive coaching record in the US includes stops at Madonna University, Albion College, and the regional staff for the US Olympic Development program.  Rutland currently works with the Michigan Rush in suburban Detroit where he serves as a director of coaching.

The Lansing NPSL franchise will reveal its name, logo, and color scheme in November following a contest that allowed fans to make their own suggestions.