The Ocean City Nor’easters announced Monday one of their former star players will be their new coach.
John Thompson, a 2004 Premier Development League (PDL) Defender of the Year and a two-time All-PDL selection, was named the seventh coach in club history. He replaces Tim Oswald, who over the last five seasons led Ocean City to two Eastern Conference championships and two PDL semifinal appearances (2012, 2016). Thompson was the winningest coach in the club’s PDL history (2003-present).
“I am looking forward to putting together another strong PDL squad for the 2017 season and add to the success this franchise has achieved in the past 20 years,” said Thompson, who could not be reached for comment, in a statement issued by the team. “I had some memorable times as a player in the PDL, so to return to the league as a head coach is an exciting prospect for me.”
Thompson, from Penrith, England, played for NCAA Division II Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, where he became the 40th player in NCAA history to be named a first-team All-American three times.
He played for the Nor’easters from 2002-06. In 2004, he was on a defense that led the Nor’easters to a 14-0-4 regular-season record and was named the PDL Defender of the Year.
He retired after the 2006 season and was an assistant coach with the Nor’easters from 2007-09. Ocean City reached the PDL playoffs twice (2007, 2009) during that time and reached the national quarterfinals in 2009.
Oswald, who couldn’t be reached for a comment, also is the men’s soccer coach for Division III Rutgers University-Camden.
In five seasons with Ocean City, he had a 47-19-6 record. Twenty-five of his Ocean City players have moved on to play professional soccer, including eight who have been selected in the MLS SuperDraft.
“Coaching the PDL team in Ocean City was an amazing professional experience for me and one that I will always cherish and value in my progression as a coach and leader of a program,” Oswald said in the Nor’easters’ statement.
The Nor’easters went 12-6 this year and won the Eastern Conference title. Their seasons run from late May through July.