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Men’s soccer coach in for the long haul

Men’s soccer coach George Kiefer came to Florida with very few state connections. But now after four years at the reigns, a 41-26-7 career record and a NCAA tournament appearance, he’ll have plenty of time to plant deep roots.

Kiefer signed a contract extension on March 22, raising his base salary from $41,711 to $60,000. The contract will run through the 2010 season. It becomes effective on July 1 and includes Coach of the Year and NCAA invitation incentives.

“I’m glad that (Athletic Director) Doug (Woolard) is committed to me,” Kiefer said. “It’s good news for me and my family, and I’m glad to be in for the long haul.”

Kiefer, entering his fifth season, is coming off a year in which the Bulls clinched a Big East Red Division regular-season crown only to fall in the Big East Championship to Connecticut 1-0. The Bulls advanced to the their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2001 under Kiefer, then lost in the second round of the tournament to Virginia 7-6 in a shootout.

But Kiefer can’t take all the credit.

While he has been influential bringing in nationally ranked recruiting classes, he also feels he acquired a good program.

“The program has always been very strong,” Kiefer said. “I inherited a good program with a lot of history, and we’ve been able to build on it what we want here.”

Kiefer, who is running clinics and camps this summer, said he has been using the recent success of the program to bring some the better talent from around the country to USF.

“(That’s a) big statement of the program,” Kiefer said. “The regular season title is not an easy thing to do. Are we going promote it? We sure are.”

Midfielder Simon Schoendorf – a player Kiefer never saw when recruiting him – said he’s happy to finish out the last two years of his collegiate career with Kiefer.

“Glad to see (the extension) happen,” Schoendorf said. “It’s a big step for the program, in which when he started here, he has gone about to build it the way he wanted to have it – to bring in players he wanted to have.

“I think he’s at a point where he has a team he wants to have, where he understands how to motivate his team, because the team chemistry is very good right now.”

Added forward Jordan Seabrook, “I think it’s great. What he’s done with the program is outstanding and he’s got us going in the right direction, so he obviously deserves it.”