Clemson University Feature Stories

Clemson senior follows his passion for soccer as he looks to a career in coaching

By Matt Reiss
Media Relations, Class of 2013

Being able to work with the Clemson men’s soccer team and be on Riggs Field all season sounds like an absolute dream for a Clemson student, especially one who has loved soccer his entire life. For Clemson student Thomas Gorman, it is a reality.

Gorman, a senior financial management major from Lexington, has been a coach for CASA soccer teams for the past five years while also serving as a student manager for the Clemson men’s team. CASA stands for the Clemson Anderson Soccer Alliance and is a club program that feature boys and girls teams of all different age groups. Gorman serves as the head coach of the U12 girls team as well as one of the main assistants to the U13 boys team.

“One of the coaches at Clemson is the head coach of a very good squad at CASA, probably our best one. But he can’t be there hardly during the fall because, obviously, Clemson soccer takes priority, so he needed an assistant.”

Upon coming to Clemson, Gorman did not plan on coaching in the program. However, after seeing his roommate coaching and helping him out, it became something that he really wanted to do.

“My roommate got a job as a part-time fill in guy, and they finally gave him a team to head coach after they saw his talent. He brought me in to help out. The club director liked me so he gave me an option for my first team,” Gorman said.

He coaches practices and training sessions four days a week for his teams with games and tournaments on the weekends. The teams travel and compete all around the Southeast and sometimes as far north as Virginia and as south as Florida.

Upon coaching these teams, Gorman started to realize how much he enjoyed being a coach and how much fulfillment he got out of teaching soccer.

“Honestly, my favorite part is the learning experience for me. I get to learn more from the kids than they learn from me half the time. Obviously, the joy is to teach someone; it’s not the moment where they ‘get it,’ but the moment when they go ‘Coach, that was easy.’ It’s something I love.”

This wonderful experience has led to an interest in a career in coaching. Clemson coach Phil Jones, who also coaches with CASA, admired Gorman’s ability as a coach and brought him on to the Clemson men’s soccer team as a student manager.

“The manager job is honestly so I can see how coaches do their work and gain experience. After being here I realized I kind of want to go into the coaching side of things as a career so that job is great experience,” he said.

Gorman performs all different duties for the men’s program that completed their 2012 campaign with a loss in the ACC Semifinals. Gorman helps set up practice, facilitates different drills and performs many other daily functions of running a Division I program. He also joins the coaches in their meetings and is eager to learn from them and expand his coaching prowess.

“I would like to coach as a career, but it is very hard to get into a program as a young coach. You really have to work your way up, and that’s the way it is everywhere. I’d like to get a job as an assistant coach for a program anywhere, Division I, II or III,” Gorman said. “I’d prefer to stay in the area and continue my work with CASA. I really like what we are building at the club with the current kids and staff we have.”

In the meantime, Gorman keeps his soccer skills fresh by participating in many of the intramurals that Clemson has to offer as well as playing numerous pick up games and participating in practices. As if he doesn’t do enough with soccer, Gorman is also an avid fan of professional soccer. While he follows the sport as a whole, he considers himself an avid Manchester United fan.

Gorman will graduate and receive his degree this upcoming May. He is very excited for the future, and while he is not sure what it will hold for him, it’s a good bet that soccer will continue to play a large role in his life.

Tags: ,