LMU men's soccer has sent nine players into the MLS and aims to continue that trend. LMU Magazine took a look inside the program and the successful transitions the Lions have made from college to the pro ranks.
Mathes Mennell enters his 11th consecutive season with the Lions and 13th overall, while beginning his sixth as the associate head coach for Lions Head Coach Paul Krumpe. Mennell spent 2002-2006 as a full-time coach for both the men's and women's programs. During this time frame, he helped the Lions to their first-ever WCC Championship in 2010 and NCAA College Cup appearances in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2009 for the men's program and 2002 and 2006 for the women's program.
Considered one of the top assistant coaches on the West Coast, Mennell's eye for recruiting has helped the Lions achieve new heights both on and off the field. Since his arrival, the men's soccer team has made four NCAA College Cup appearances, and in 2003 received the #13 seed and a first round bye. The Lions became an annual fixture in the national rankings, and are considered one of the top programs in the West Coast Conference. A tremendous recruiter, Mennell's work as recruiting coordinator has not gone unnoticed as the Lions have enjoyed perennial recognition for their recruiting by College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer.com.
In his role as coach of the goalkeepers, Mennell has kept the Lions' goals-against-average under 1.25 in seven of the last nine seasons, including posting a school-record 0.92 GAA in 2002. In 2008, Patrick Sampson recorded the second-lowest individual GAA in LMU history at 0.87 and was named Second Team All-WCC. Two of his former charges, Shaun Kalnasy and Patrick Lane, have gone on to play professionally, with Kalnasy signing with Chivas USA in 2005 and Lane signing with Cercle Brugge in the Belgian First Division in 2008.
After serving as an assistant coach at the United States Air Force Academy in 1996-1997, Mennell came to LMU as men's assistant coach in June of 1998 until February of 2000. He then rejoined the coaching staff at Air Force as an assistant coach for the Falcons men's soccer team from 2000-2002.
Mennell is a 1996 graduate of the Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Humanities and completed his Master of Arts degree in General Education from Loyola Marymount University in July of 2007. In addition to his work within the Athletics Department, Mennell is also an instructor in the LMU Leadership Institute, which is a three component program, open to all students, that includes a curricular, co-curricular and capstone experience based on the Social Change Model of Leadership Development.
A USSF "A" licensed coach, Mennell is also very active in youth soccer, including serving as the head coach for USYS Region IV Boys ODP since June 2012. He recently served as the Director of Goalkeeping and as an assistant coach for both the Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy's U-16 and U-18 teams which compete in the United States Soccer Development Academy. The U-16 Galaxy were the 2011 National Champions for the USSDA.
A standout goalkeeper at Air Force from 1992-1995, Mennell served as team captain in 1995 and was named the Team's Most Inspirational Player in 1994 and 1995. He was also named First Team All-MPSF in 1994 and earned honorable mention accolades in 1993 and 1995. Upon graduation from USAFA in 1996, he continued to play, spending time in the USL's A-League with the Colorado Foxes and the USL's Premier League Pikes Peak Stampede.