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Former MLS Top Pick Chris Gbandi Named Men's Soccer Assistant Coach

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By Dartmouth
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HANOVER, N.H. – The first overall pick of the 2002 MLS SuperDraft Chris Gbandi has been tabbed assistant coach for the Dartmouth men’s soccer team, as announced by head coach Chad Riley.

“I couldn’t be happier to welcome coach Gbandi to the Dartmouth soccer family. He is an outstanding coach, who is committed to excellence in whatever he does. Chris had a tremendous playing career both collegiately and professionally and has made a seamless transition to coaching. He is a tremendous recruiter, and combines that with a wonderful ability to teach the game. Chris will be a fabulous role model for the current squad,” said Riley.

Born in Liberia where he made three caps for the National Team, Gbandi, a standout defender at Connecticut, was named the Hermann Trophy winner in 2000 and was a finalist in 1999 and 2001. He was named the Big East Rookie of the Year in 1998, followed by a three-year run as the conference Defensive Player of the Year. In 2000, Gbandi led the Huskies to an NCAA Championship title as the National Player of the Year.

He was selected by the Dallas Burn with the first pick and spent six seasons with the Burn and Dallas FC.

"The Dartmouth men's soccer program has a long and illustrious history, I'm very excited and looking forward to the opportunity of contributing to that history,” said Gbandi.

In 111 appearances with the Burn/Dallas FC, Gbandi scored three times, including the last goal ever scored at the Cotton Bowl. In 2006, Gbandi was tabbed FC Dallas’ Defender of the Year. In his final season in Dallas, he scored an amazing goal against Real Salt Lake that was nominated for Goal of the Year. In 2008, he completed a transfer to Norwegian Club FK Haugesund, where he spent the next two seasons. Gbandi finished his professional career in 2010 with Miami FC of the USSF Division 2.

“Chris will help us in all areas of the program, but focus on recruiting, scouting, and individual player development. Chris brings a great deal of professionalism and passion to everything he does. I certainly can’t wait to get started working with him,” added Riley.

After his playing career on the pitch, Gbandi traded in his kit for a whistle and was hired by his alma mater and legendary coach Ray Reid to handle team operations in 2012. After one season with the Huskies, he was named interim head coach at the College of The Holy Cross, before securing the top assistant position for the 2013 season.   

“With the hiring of Coach Gbandi and continuation of Coach Fahey, we without a doubt have a top class coaching team heading into 2014,” concluded Riley.

"We are thrilled to have Chris Gbandi joining our men's soccer staff. His experience and character will be tremendous assets to the young men in our program,” said Harry Sheehy, Director of Athletics & Recreation.