MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University men’s soccer coach Marlon LeBlanc announced the hiring of Mike Lapper, an United States Olympian and World Cup participant, as an assistant coach on the Mountaineer staff.
Lapper spent the last nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, helping the team to a 2008 MLS Cup Championship and an appearance in the 2009 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals.
“I’m pleased to add Mike to our coaching staff. Mike has spent his entire coaching career in the MLS, and we are excited that West Virginia will be his home as he transitions in to the collegiate game,” LeBlanc says. “He’s had some great experiences over the course of his playing and coaching career that will both enhance the quality of our program and aide in the continued development of our players on and off the pitch.”
“I am very excited for this new opportunity,” Lapper says. “I’m beginning a new direction in my coaching career, and I’m privileged to start it with a high-caliber program in West Virginia. I can’t wait to get to Morgantown and start working with the guys.”
Upon his retirement as a player in July 2002, Lapper joined the Crew front as Director of Soccer Business Development, a role he held through 2007, in which he ran the organization’s camp and clinic business. He joined the coaching staff concurrently in 2005.
During his time in the Crew front office, Lapper also served as an assistant coach for the MLS Generation Adidas Team (2009), assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s U-20 National Team (2004-05), head coach for the CESA Boy’s Select Team (2002-05), vice president of the Columbus Crew Chiefs (2002-05) and International Team Tour Coordinator Vice President for Premier Sports Group International, Inc (2002-09).
A hard-nosed defender during his playing days, Lapper spent 14 seasons as a professional player. He appeared in 110 games, starting 99, for the Crew from 1997-02. He began his professional career with VfL Wolfsburg of the German Second Division from 1994-95, and joined Southend of the English First Division from 1995-97.
He earned 44 caps, scoring one goal, with the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1991-95. He was a part of the U.S. teams at both the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Lapper played collegiate soccer at CLA from 1988-91. While a UCLA, Lapper helped lead the Bruins to the 1990 National Championship and earned First Team All-America honors in 1991. Lapper went on to graduate in 2008 from Ohio State University with a degree in sociology.
Lapper and his wife Tara, have two children, Kyle and Tyler.