8x Conference Coach of the Year (1991, '94, 2001, '04, '08, 2010, '11, '14)
5x NSCAA New England Coach of the Year (1985, '86, '88, 1994, 2004)
Former Terriers Coached:MIKE EMENALO (current Chelsea FC technical director, 1994 World Cup - Nigeria, MLS - San Jose Clash), ANDY DORMAN (current MLS - New England Revolution, The Championship - Crystal Palace, Welsh National Team), DOMINIQUE BADJI (MLS - Colorado Rapids), MICHAEL BUSTAMANTE (MLS - New York Red Bulls), FRANCIS OKAROH (MLS - New England Revolution, Chicago Fire, Miami Fusion)
Five-time NSCAA New England Coach of the Year Neil Roberts enters his 31st year at the helm after leading the Terriers to their first Patriot League regular season title and 12th overall conference regular season title. He has guided BU to an impressive 27 winning regular season records, highlighted by 13 NCAA appearances.
Since taking the reigns in 1985 when BU rolled to a 14-4-1 record and a bid in the NCAA tournament, Roberts has established the BU men's soccer program as one of the elite in the nation. Ranking 11th in the nation among active coaches in victories, Roberts has posted an overall record of 331-176-79 (.632).
Last year, BU was selected sixth in the preseason poll and went on to claim their first regular season title since 2011 with a record of 12-4-4 and their first unbeaten conference mark (6-0-3 PL) since 1994 while earning an RPI ranking of 38. Besides being named PL Coach of the Year, Roberts helped the Terriers claim three other conference year-end honors. PL Offensive Player of the Year Dominique Badji ('14) was even drafted by the Colorado Rapids this past January and went on to score a game winner to help his MLS squad snap an 18-game winless streak. Four of Badji's teammates received All-Conference honors, and Nick Thomson claimed Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolades.
Plagued by injuries in 2012 and 2013, the Terriers still challenged their opponents and claimed wins over the 2012 CAA champion (Northeastern) and runner-up (Hofstra) during the regular season. In 2012 with six nationally ranked opponents on the schedule, the Terriers finished at 6-8-4 with three of the losses coming in overtime. They had many memorable moments, including a 1-0 victory at then-No. 11 Boston College, marking BU's first shutout win against the Eagles since 1998. BU held up well at No. 1 North Carolina, creating multiple chances but came up just short in a 2-1 defeat, and followed up with a 1-1 draw at No. 3 Connecticut.
In 2011, Roberts received his seventh league Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Terriers to a 9-9 (5-2 AE) record and the program's 11th regular season title. In the previous year, BU finished with a 11-5-1 record and a RPI of 40 to become one of the last teams left out of the NCAAs.
During 2009, BU was ranked as high as 15th before before ending the season with a 9-7-2 record. Highlights of the season included a 3-0 win at the UConn's field and a 1-0 home victory over then-No. 1 St. John's. The victory marked the program's first win against the top-ranked team since defeating Virginia at the start of the 1994 season.
With the seventh-best strength of schedule in the nation in 2008, BU finished 12-6-3 and advanced to the second round of the NCAAs after knocking off Fairleigh Dickinson at home. A late second-half goal by eventual College Cup participant St. John's snapped a 10-game unbeaten streak for the Terriers, who finished the year with a RPI rating of 20.
Under Roberts' direction, the Terriers have appeared in 13 NCAA tournaments, advancing past the first round seven times. During the 1985 season, the Terriers reached the national quarterfinals. In 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994, 2004 and 2008, the Terriers won their first-round matches before being eliminated in the second round.
BU has enjoyed similar success in conference tournaments during Roberts' tenure. The Terriers won five straight titles in the 1990s and, during that stretch, had a 10-game tournament winning streak. Dating back to 1989, BU has advanced to the finals 10 times, including the 2014 title game in which it fell in overtime, and boasts an overall record of 17-9-6 (.625).
Similarly, in 28 years of regular-season conference play, the Terriers have won the regular-season title 12 times and posted an overall record of 136-54-29 (.687). From September 1989 through October 1993, Roberts' clubs were undefeated in 29 consecutive conference games, compiling a mark of 28-0-1.
One of the highlights of Roberts' career came in 1994 when the Terriers posted a 16-0-1 regular-season record, making them the only undefeated team in the nation. The season opened with a stunning 3-2 upset win over No. 1 ranked and eventual national champion University of Virginia. The Terriers set seven team records and finished the regular-season ranked first. They ended the year with a 19-1-1 (.929) mark, including a first-round win in the NCAAs.
The all-time winningest soccer coach in program history, Roberts has coached 12 All-Americans and 10 Academic All-Americans. In 1994, Nick Bone, who went on to become the Terriers' all-time leading scorer, was voted the National Freshman of the Year.
Roberts' association with BU soccer began in 1979, when he served as an assistant under Hank Steinbrecher, who is the former executive director of the United States Soccer Federation. In 1985, when Steinbrecher left the University, Roberts was named the head coach.
Since then, he has been recognized 17 times for coaching excellence. He was the NSCAA New England Coach of the Year in 1985, 1986, 1988, 1994 and 2004. In 1986, 1990 and 1994, he was also the New England Soccer Coach of the Year as selected by the Eastern Massachusetts High School Soccer Coaches Association, and in 1991, 1994, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011, he was the America East Coach of the Year. He only needed two seasons in the Patriot League to recognized as the conference's top coach in 2014. In 1995, he received the William French Award for coaching excellence from the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Having coached 10 academic All-Americans, Roberts is equally proud of his players' successes in the classroom. During the 2014 season, 15 players earned Patriot League Academic Honor Roll accolades. Nick Thomson was tabbed the Patriot League's Scholar-Athlete of the Year, earning the first top academic honor since both Steve Walker (1993) and Ola Olsen (1994) were recognized In 2008, senior co-captain Dan Schultz earned national academic honors from both CoSIDA and the NSCAA. Ben Havey followed two years later in 2010 with CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades, and Nick Thomson garned the latest honor in 2014.
The holder of a USSF license, Roberts has been actively involved with soccer at all levels. Most recently, he guided the Massachusetts Under-15 team to the 1999 regional title, while he has also coached the Mass Bay Strikers to the 1993 Under-17 State title. In 1984, he led the Cambridge Portuguese Sport Soccer Club to an undefeated season and the American Soccer Association title.
A native of Braintree, Mass., Roberts was an All-New England selection and captain of the 1976 Mitchell Junior College team that finished second at the junior college national championships. He then enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University, where he enjoyed two outstanding seasons. Roberts captained the team during his junior and senior seasons and led the Owls to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.
Currently residing in his hometown, Roberts and his wife, Sue, have a son, Dan, and a daughter, Deidre.