The Akron Zips will have a new face on the touchline after bringing in Leo Chappel to serve on coach Jared Embick's staff. Chappel's hire is pending approval by the Akron Board of Trustees, but his hiring has potential to majorly benefit the Zips.
Chappel comes to northeastern Ohio from Major League Soccer's Toronto FC. He served as the director of scouting. He is also renowned for his work at Columbia University where he was the head coach of the men's soccer team from 2006-09 and but prior to his time at Columbia, Chappel played a key role in turning UC-Santa Barbara into a national powerhouse.
Chappel served two stints as an assistant coach at UCSB, the first of which saw him play an instrumental role in his team's recruiting five classes that ranked among the nations top 20 by College Soccer News and Soccer America and included several members of the 2006 Gauchos' team that won the NCAA national championship under Chappel's tutelage.
UCSB brought Chappel back in 2009, once again as an assistant coach, and retained the position for two more seasons. His second stint proved to be slightly less successful as his first but still encouraging. The Ohio Wesleyan graduate left his mark on UCSB, aiding the Gauchos to an overall record of 118-26-8 and 12-4-2 in the post season.
He also led the team to a No. 1 ranking in the nation for much of the season in 2004 and reached the national final where his team would fall to Indiana in penalties. Following that spectacular season, Chappel was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Assistant Coach of the Year.
During his seven seasons on UCSB's staff, Chappel recruited and coached 16 All-Americans-- all of whom progressed to play on the professional level whether in MLS or abroad. But his days in California were coming to a close and the Great White North came calling.
Chappel went to Toronto FC in January of 2011 and was in charge of identifying and analyzing the top prospects in college soccer as part of the organizations SuperDraft preparation and this could prove beneficial to the Zips as he has analyzed some of the best talent college soccer has to offer and he knows how to recruit top talent.
Being hired by the Akron Zips men's soccer team, that was ranked nationally last season and went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after beating 2012 national champions Indiana is a long and progressive stop for Chappel who began his coaching career in 1995-96 as an assistant at Wake Forest. Now he will have to prove his coaching acumen while, once again, coaching a national powerhouse.