One of the most respected collegiate coaches and players in the rich history of New England soccer, Seamus Purcell begins his 23rd season as head coach of the Bryant University men's soccer program in 2018-19.
Purcell led one of the Northeast Conference's best defenses in 2017, with the unit allowing a league-low 18 goals in 15 games last season. Their goals-against average of 1.12 finished second in the league behind St. Francis Brooklyn. Bryant earned a pair of big conference wins during the year, including a 2-0 win in the league opener over Fairleigh Dickinson and an overtime victory over rival Sacred Heart.
With an overall record of 134-194-38 entering the 2018 season, Purcell led the Bulldogs to their second-straight Northeast Conference Tournament appearance in 2014.
In 2014, the Bulldogs finished 9-5-3 overall, setting multiple Division I program records such as most wins in a season (9), NEC wins in a season (5), the highest finish in the NEC Standings (2nd), and five All-NEC recipients. Bryant finished the NEC regular season with a 5-0-2 record, marking the first time a NEC team has gone undefeated through conference play since 2010.
In 2013, the Purcell and the Bulldogs put together 7-9-2 overall mark, finishing third in the Northeast Conference regular season standings. In their first NEC Tournament appearance, the Bulldogs took down #2 seeded Saint Francis U. in penalty kicks before falling to St. Francis Brooklyn, 3-2, in overtime of the NEC Tournament Title match.
Predicted to finish 11th in the 2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, the Bulldogs exceeded almost all expectations, finishing with an NEC record 4-5-1 (6-8-2 overall), good for seventh place in the conference.
With 12 victories over the past four seasons, the Bulldogs have set a solid foundation as it prepares to join the ranks of a formidable Northeast Conference after several solid years at the top of the Northeast-10 (D-II) conference.
In 2009, the Bulldogs participated for the first time in a full Northeast Conference schedule. Purcell and the Bulldogs won five games on the year with wins against Holy Cross, Army, Sacred Heart, Robert Morris and a double overtime upset over Central Connecticut.
In the program’s first season of DI play in 2008, the Bulldogs played a brutal travel schedule that took them to Old Dominion, VCU, Marquette, Pittsburgh and Richmond. Purcell earned his first DI win on September 7th with a 2-0 win over Richmond, and played a nationally-ranked Brown University squad to the wire before falling 1-0.
In 2007, Purcell guided the Bulldogs to an 11-8 record in 2007 and a berth in the Northeast-10 Conference quarterfinals.
The Bryant men's soccer team qualified for the Northeast-10 Conference tournament seven of the last eight seasons in the conference, including an appearance in the NE-10 semifinals and a regional ranking of No. 4 - just one spot shy of a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Under Purcell's direction, Bryant University has was one of the most consistently competitive teams in the Northeast-10 Conference, which has established itself as perhaps the top Division II soccer league in the nation.
Purcell led Bryant to one of the most successful seasons in school history in 2001 as the Bulldogs finished 12-8-0, including two wins against teams ranked in the final national top-25 poll.
Purcell was named the NE-10 Conference Coach of the Year and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America New England Region Coach of the Year in 2002 and was a finalist for national Coach of the Year honors.
Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Purcell was a member of Irish national team for three years, during which time he competed in both the European and World Cup Championships in the former Soviet Union. In 1985, Purcell enrolled at Providence College, where he was twice named an All-American and was a four-time All-New England selection.
Purcell came to Bryant in 1995 as an assistant coach with the Bulldog women's team and was elevated to the head coaching ranks of the men's side in 1996.
A 1989 graduate of Providence, Purcell resides in West Greenwich, R.I. He was inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame in January of 2008 and the New England Soccer Hall of Fame in November of 2012.