Szymel Enhances DePaul Men's Soccer Coaching Staff
May 28, 2014
CHICAGO – DePaul has bolstered its men’s soccer program with the addition of former NSCAA Scholar All-American Anthony Szymel to the Blue Demon coaching staff.
Szymel becomes an assistant coach in Lincoln Park after spending four seasons at NCAA Division II national champion Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.---the last two years as first assistant coach.
After starring at Naperville North High School, the standout goalkeeper led Lewis University to a pair of NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and led the nation as a senior in save percentage. That season, Lewis went 14-1-4 and advanced to the NCAA Midwest Region finals.
As the goalkeeper coach at Lynn, Szymel helped Matt DiCerbo become a Daktronics First Team All-American. Szymel was instrumental in helping guide the Fighting Knights to the 2012 national title.
“Being from Naperville, it’s always been a goal to get back to the Chicago area and to a Division I program,” Szymel said. “For me, there wasn’t a better opportunity than to coach at DePaul in the BIG EAST Conference. Everybody here knows each other and it’s a great family atmosphere.
“Coach Craig Blazer contacted me about two months ago, and a month later I came for an interview. A week or so later, I was sitting in the parking lot during a club soccer team practice in Delray Beach, Fla. when coach Blazer called to give me the good news.
“There was a feeling of relief. Nothing against Florida, but I’ve been trying to get back home since the day I left. I was ecstatic about the chance to coach at DePaul. I called my girlfriend and my mom and dad right away.”
Szymel spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Lynn and was promoted to first assistant coach in 2012. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Lewis and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Lynn.
“I am looking forward to working with everyone in the program and especially the goalkeepers,” Szymel said. “I learned a lot from my coaches at Lewis and Lynn and will pass that onto the student-athletes at DePaul.
“I’ll look to be the connector between coach Blazer and assistant coach Craig Reynolds to the players. Being 27 years old, I can relate to the players. It wasn’t that long ago that I was playing college soccer. I can provide a nice balance between the other coaches and the players.”
Blazer foresees his new assistant coach making some key contributions to the Blue Demons.
“We are very excited to have Anthony join the DePaul men’s soccer program” Blazer said. “Anthony is a well-respected young coach and fulfills the qualifications we are looking for as an assistant coach. He played at Naperville North and with the Chicago Sockers club team and was a Scholar All-American at Lewis University.
“Anthony has the intangibles we are looking for, and he can mentor our young student-athletes while continuing the process of making all of our players better. Training our goalkeepers will be one of his main responsibilities. What he has accomplished in his career reflects what we’re trying to do at DePaul.
“He can attract and help develop our student-athletes to be successful in the Chicago area, the BIG EAST Conference and the Great Lakes region.”
Szymel has always kept his eye on the Blue Demons.
“When I was playing at Lewis, I knew quite a bit about DePaul’s program,” Szymel said. “I saw how competitive they were in a tough soccer conference and how they advanced to the BIG EAST semifinals in back-to-back seasons.
“I can see the program has the resources to be very successful. There are a lot of talented soccer players in the Chicago area, and I would like to help recruit some of them to DePaul. I have connections with the coaching staffs of club teams in the area.
“A school like Naperville North will always hold a special place in my heart, and you always want to bring over people from the place you played. The DuPage Valley Conference is always churning out talented athletes, and I’d like to bring them to DePaul.”