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Soccer coach has Jacksonville ties


For the first time since the program was founded, the University of North Florida men’s soccer team is under the direction of a new head coach. In December, North Florida Athletics Director Lee Moon announced the hiring of Derek Marinatos as the head coach of the Osprey men’s soccer program.


Marinatos comes to UNF following a four-year coaching stint at Furman University, having most recently served as associate head coach. During his tenure, the Paladins compiled a 49-27-4 (.638) record and were the 2010 Southern Conference regular season champions.


“I am extremely excited to have Derek taking over our men’s soccer program,” said Moon. “He has been a key part of nationally successful programs and also demonstrated the strong ability to recruit and develop the top caliber student-athletes that we are looking for at North Florida. Derek definitely possessed all the qualities we were looking for in a head coach.”


Marinatos is originally from the Jacksonville area and brings a wealth of soccer experience and knowledge to the North Florida team. Since arriving on campus, Marinatos has been working non-stop to improve the men’s soccer program. This is most evident with his efforts on the recruiting trail.  The first-year head coach brought in more than a dozen new players. 


“I am very excited about the guys we have coming in,” Marinatos stated. “All of them have strong character and are extremely competitive. We brought in a lot of guys who excel both on the field and in the classroom. The players we have coming in will be able to immediately challenge for positions and help us compete in the Atlantic Sun Conference right away.”


Two of his recruiting classes at Furman earned high national rankings with his 2008 group listed 17th and the 2009 class ranking 27th.


In addition to dealing with recruiting, Marinatos has worked hard on the 2011 schedule for the Ospreys. The schedule features 16 regular season matches, including six matches to be played at Hodges Stadium.


“I think we have put together a schedule that will challenge our players and prepare us for the Atlantic Sun Conference season,” said Marinatos. “We are excited about going on the road and earning our reputation. The matches we have scheduled early will help us when we play the conference season.”


As an assistant at Furman, Marinatos was responsible for all aspects of the Paladin program, including recruiting, film analysis, scheduling, equipment, budgets, alumni relations and academics. In addition to capturing the 2010 So-Con title, he helped guide Furman to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007 following a 19-4-0 finish that included a Top 20 national ranking and both the Southern Conference regular season and tournament crowns.


Prior to his time at Furman, Marinatos served a six-year stint as an assistant and goalkeeper coach at his alma mater, Emory. The Eagles made a pair of NCAA Division III Tournament appearances including a 15-4-0 finish in 2005.


In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Marinatos is currently a U.S. Academy scout in charge of identifying players for the U-15, U-17, U-18, and U-20 men’s national teams and served as goalkeeper coach for the 2009 United States U-20 women’s national team. During the summer of 2006, he served as goalkeeper coach and advance scout for the United States U-21 women’s national team that participated in the prestigious Nordic Cup.


As a player at Emory, Marinatos helped guide the Eagles to three straight NCAA Tournaments while garnering three first-team all-league honors. A two-year team captain, he was twice named All-South Region. Marinatos played with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the United Soccer League’s First Division in 1999 and earned a full tryout with AC Milan in the Italian Seria A.


Marinatos holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory and earned his master’s in sports administration at Georgia State University. He is a 1994 graduate of the Bolles School, a private high school in Jacksonville.