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February 7, 2014

Lions’ soccer coach working toward NCAA championship

COMMERCE — In his 16 years of coaching Women’s Soccer at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Neil Piper said he is always looking for ways to improve his craft. Piper spoke about his past experiences and where he wants to take the team in 2014 during the Lion Athletics Club meeting on Feb. 3 inside Black Jack’s BBQ in Commerce.

“I”m constantly trying to improve myself,” he said.

Piper came to A&M-Commerce in 1997 as an assistant and took over as head coach the next year where he posted a 13-6 record and a trip to the Lone Star Conference semi-finals.

During his years as head coach, Piper has taken the team to five NCAA appearances, including one in the 2013 season.

Although the team has not won a championship, Piper thinks his team has a strong chance.

“I want to be the first LSC team to win the NCAA Championship,” he said.

Piper is returning 20 of the 24 players from the 2013 team, which made it to the LSC semi-finals.

“We’re looking good right now,” he said, adding he has been recruiting talented players from the UK to make a push at the championship. “We’re looking at a 2015 or 2016 championship.”

Piper’s competitive nature bleeds over into other sports as well, as he competes with other coaches at A&M-Commerce to see which team has the best winning percentage.

Piper said the recent years have been great competition, because “every sport is in a great situation.”

According to Piper, competing their best on the field is not the only thing he looks for when recruiting women for his team; he wants talent both on and off the field.

Piper said his style has showed since the team has a combined GPA of 3.2.

“The girls have done a great job,” he said.

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