The Providence Academy Athletics Department is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Paul O’Connor to Head Coach of the Boys Varsity Soccer team and Soccer Program Head. Paul’s background includes a wealth of coaching, training, and administrative opportunities that will help him oversee not only the boys varsity team, but also PA’s entire Boys Soccer Program, grades 5 through 12.
Paul is a product of Easington Comprehensive School located in the village of Easington, County Durham, England. There, he played varsity school soccer and also participated in State Soccer with East Durham. He played Regional soccer with Northumberland, as well as playing a stint in the Hetton Youth League.
O’Connor also spent more than ten years on the professional circuit with the likes of Leicester City F.C., the Blyth Spartans, Hartlepool United F.C., and the Bedlington Terriers. While playing for these professional teams O’Connor enjoyed success as; League Winners, Northumberland Senior Cup winners, League Cup Winners, Carlsberg F.A. Cup participant, and he even played in Wembley Stadium as a finalist for the F.A. Vase.
During his time as a professional Paul was also lauded with many individual honors, including: Away Player of the Year, Journalists Player of the Year, Managers Player of the Year, Players Player of the Year, Supporters Player of the Year, and Press Player of the Year.
After an injury forced his retirement from 1st Division play, O’Connor turned his attention to coaching. He has coached at every level Minnesota offers, including assistant positions at: Edina, Hopkins, Bloomington Jefferson and Benilde St. Margaret’s High Schools. O’Connor has also served as Goalie Coach for Hamline University and Macalester College, as well as two Minnesota Professional teams: the Minnesota Thunder and Minnesota United.
In 2016 Coach O’Connor became the Technical Director and Director of Goalkeeping for nearby Maplebrook Soccer Association, located in Maple Grove, MN.
O’Connor also has an impressive list of soccer related licenses that include a National Y License which is devoted to the physical, psychological and social characteristics displayed by children of specific ages, National C License which focuses on the core concepts of coaching, and a National B License which focuses on the principles of long-term player development and developing a team. All three are awarded by the United States Soccer Federation. He also has achieved his Goalkeeper National Diploma (Distinguished Pass) and Goalkeeper Advanced National Certificate through the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
When asked, why Providence Academy? Paul answered, “I had heard about Providence Academy because it is well known for its academics, art, and faith life, yet I knew little about the Athletics program until I did a little digging. What I found is that the boys soccer program has tremendous potential. My thought is to help build the program so that it is on par with schools Academics, Arts, and Faith.”
Athletics Director Rick Johns states, “I know that Paul O’Connor is a great fit for Providence Academy. “He has a deep coaching résumé, the ability to develop meaningful relationships with our students and understands that coaching soccer is more than just teaching the game.”
Of his appointment Coach O’Connor reflects, “I know a few of the players from previous coaching experiences so I am excited to meet more of the boys. My goal is to help them grow their game and grow as young men. In the end, we want to nurture good people, have some fun and build on the strong foundation set by previous teams.”
Please welcome Coach Paul O’Connor to our community.