New Gamecock soccer coach, Tony Annan, starts rebuilding process

Tony Annan was hired by South Carolina five days, and now, he starts the challenge of rebuilding a program that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2016.

Annan most recently worked for the Atlanta United in youth development, but he got the itch for a new challenge.

“It was time for this in my career,” said Annan. “I needed a new challenge, and it’s a great challenge for me.”

As Atlanta United became the first MLS Academy to launch before its First Team, Annan oversaw one of the most successful seasons for any academy across the board during the 2016-17 United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season. Serving as head coach of the U-17s, Annan won the club’s first piece of hardware, claiming the national championship in 2016. In addition, the U-19s also won the Southeast Division and finished the season as the No. 1 overall national seed.

Bringing 25 years of coaching experience with him to Stone Stadium, Annan replaces longtime soccer coach Mark Berson, who retired at the end of this season.

“I am honored and grateful to be named the next head coach at the University of South Carolina,” Annan said. “As a coach with 25 years of experience in player development, I am eager to take on this challenge. The priority will be to recruit and develop players both on and off the field in line with the traditions of the university.”

Annan is also tasked with having to face arch-rival Clemson, the top seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks haven’t beaten the Tigers since 2014, but Annan is making that one of his top priorities.

“They’re now the other school,” he said. “They’re now my rival. I am a competitor, and I don’t plan on having them sit on top of the hill for long. It’s my challenge to equal them and pass them.”

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