April 4, 2013
BERKELEY - Pieter Lehrer, who spent the previous eight seasons on the California men's soccer coaching staff, left his role as the Golden Bears' associate head coach to take the head coaching job at Harvard, the Ivy League school announced on Thursday.
"We are very happy that Pieter is pursuing one of his goals in life - to be a head coach at the collegiate level," Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. "His work at Cal the past eight seasons has been tremendous, and our program has benefited quite a bit from his expertise. He has all of the knowledge and experience to do great things at Harvard University. We wish him the very best."
"Working with one of the top 10 coaches in the country over the last eight years has been an experience of which few assistants can boast," Lehrer said. "My time at Cal and with Kevin has been invaluable. I am proud to consider Kevin a mentor and a friend. I will dearly miss Henry Foulk and the players who daily give their full commitment to this program. I would like to thank Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour and the rest of the athletic department for their extraordinary leadership and commitment to excellence."
The Cal coaching staff now consists of Grimes, Foulk, the Bears' goalkeeper coach, and new volunteer assistant coach - and former Cal star - Javier Ayala-Hil.
Lehrer earned his associate head coach title in 2011. Previously an assistant coach, Lehrer earned the promotion for his work in helping turn Cal into a national powerhouse. In 2010 - after Cal won the Pac-10 championship and reached the NCAA quarterfinal round with arguably its best team ever - Lehrer earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Mondo Far West Regional Assistant Coach of the Year award.
After that 2010 season, six of Cal's starters moved onto Major League Soccer. In a fashion, Cal was victim of its own success, as goalkeeper David Bingham left the Bears after his junior season in 2010 to join MLS - and the San Jose Earthquakes - in the spring of 2011.
The other Bears who joined MLS after the 2010 season were A.J. Soares (New England Revolution), Demitrius Omphroy (Toronto FC), Servando Carrasco (Seattle Sounders FC), Hector Jimenez (Los Angeles Galaxy) and Davis Paul (Chicago Fire). A seventh member of that talented squad - midfielder Anthony Avalos - now plays professionally in Norway with SK Vard Haugesund.
A former player at UCLA, Lehrer joined Cal as a volunteer assistant coach in 2005 before becoming a full-time assistant coach in 2006. He was actively involved in all aspects of the program - recruiting, training, player development, game operations and management, video, alumni relations, administration and camps.
During his time at Cal, the Bears had unprecedented success, including winning back-to-back Pac-10 championships (2006-07) and making four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament (2005-08). During his Cal tenure, several Bears have moved on to play at the professional level in MLS, Europe, USL-1 and USSF Division 2 Pro League. That lists includes alum Jacob Wilson, who plays for Vasas SC in Hungary's top league, Andrew Wiedeman (Toronto FC) and Stefan Frei (Toronto FC), who both joined MLS in 2009, and Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas), who entered MLS in 2008.
Lehrer joined the Bears from the University of Evansville in Indiana, where he spent the 2004 season as an assistant coach. While at Evansville, the program enjoyed its best season since 1996-97 and compiled a winning record for the first time in four years. One player moved on to sign and play with the MLS.
Previously, he spent four years as an assistant coach for Stanford from 1999-2001 and in 2003. During this time, Stanford made three NCAA College Cup appearances. From those teams, 11 players signed and played with MLS teams. For this success, Lehrer was honored with the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2003.
During the 2001 and 2002 seasons, Lehrer served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS. While with the Galaxy, the club won both the 2002 MLS Cup and the 2001 Open Cup.
Lehrer has also served as an assistant coach for the ODP U-18 Region IV team, as well as the head coach for the ODP District II team. He holds a United States Soccer Federation A License and a NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.
As a player, Lehrer played for UCLA and was a member of the program's first NCAA Championship team in 1985. He also played professionally in Europe from 1986-88. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in history in 1990.