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Coaches / Staff

Brian Gill Head Coach

Brian Gill wrapped up his second season as the James C. Gentle Head Coach of Men's Soccer in 2019. After serving as an assistant coach in 2017, Gill took over for Rudy Fuller in February of 2018, following Fuller's promotion to Senior Associate Athletic Director for Intercollegiate Programs.

Gill's second season at the helm showed continued improvement from his first year, guiding the Quakers to their first above .500 record since the 2011 season with a 7-5-4 tally, and a 3-1-3 record in Ivy League action. In conference action, the squad earned 12 points to take second in the standings following a great four-match ending to the season with two wins over No. 24 Yale and Harvard and draws against Brown and Princeton. The win against Ivy Champion, Yale, was the only loss in the league for the Bulldogs. Awards flooded in for the Quakers after the season, led by junior defender Alex Touche as the Ivy's Defensive Player of the Year. He was joined on first-team All-Ivy with junior midfielder Joey Bhangdia, while freshman Kai Lammers earned a second-team nod and senior Brandon Bartel and junior Jake Kohlbrenner sport honorable mention spots. Touche continued his honors with a United Soccer Coaches (USC) third-team All-Region honor in the Northeast.

In his first year, the improvement began on the field for the Quakers, as Penn notched a .500 record at 5-5-6 for the first time since 2013. Defensively, the Red and Blue boasted their strongest numbers since 2010, posting seven shutouts and holding their opponents to a sub-one goals allowed per game average. Sophomore Alex Touche garnered first-team All-Ivy status, while junior Brandon Bartel earned honorable mention league honors with a conference-best six assists.

Gill spent 2017 as an assistant coach for Penn, helping coach four All-Ivy honorees. Prior to his arrival in University City, he spent seven seasons at Georgetown as an assistant. His tenure in the nation's capital was highlighted by five trips to the NCAA Tournament, including reaching the NCAA College Cup final in 2012 and appearances in the Elite Eight (2014) and Sweet Sixteen (2013, 2015). Georgetown won four Big East championships and was nationally-ranked each season from 2010-15.

As a player, Gill was a three-time captain and two-time team MVP at Rider University, while graduating magna cum laude in 2004 with a degree in secondary education and history. He earned his master's degree at Georgetown in sports industry management in 2015.



Steve DeMatteo Assistant Coach

dematteo

Steve DeMatteo concluded his first season as an assistant coach for the Quakers in 2019.

In just his first season, he helped Penn to a 7-5-4 tally, the first above .500 record since 2011. With a second-place finish in the Ivy League standings with 12 points, the Quakers sat only behind Ivy Champion, Yale, who had just one loss in league play for the year, to Penn on October 26 in Philadelphia, 1-0 in double overtime. In his first season, he coached the Ivy Defensive Player of the Year in junior Alex Touche and four other All-Ivy honorees.

DeMatteo joined Penn following stops as as an assistant coach at at Arcadia and Lafayette, and most recently, two years as head coach at Manhattanville College. There, he accumulated a 21-14-1 record, including a 13-6 mark last season, the most wins for the program since 2011. The 2018 MAC Freedom Coach of the Year, DeMatteo helped land the Valiants a program-record nine all-conference selections last fall.

DeMatteo arrived at Manhattanville after spending the previous two years as an assistant coach at Lafayette. Working with the team's back four, he crafted the unit into the best defense in the Patriot League in 2016, conceding a conference-low 1.06 goals per game. That followed up on his first season, in which the Leopards allowed only 17 goals in 18 matches (0.94 goals/game). Previously, DeMatteo spent two seasons as the top assistant coach at Arcadia from 2013-15. He played a role in all aspects of the program including recruiting, scouting and on-field training sessions.

DeMatteo has also worked extensively at the elite and academy youth level of the game. In 2016 and 2017 DeMatteo lead the Patriot FC 99 boys to back to back USYS PA East State Cup Championships. In 2016 the same team finished as USYS Region 1 Semi-Finalist. Prior to his time at Patriot FC DeMatteo worked with Match Fit Academy FC in NJ. During his time at Match Fit DeMatteo worked with U14 USSDA team as well as the U13 and U12 Pre-Academy teams.

As a player, DeMatteo began his career at Drew University before spending his last three seasons at William Paterson University. He started 45 of his 46 appearances on the field for the Pioneers, scoring eight goals with five assists for 21 points. The 2013 William Paterson graduate is still tied for first all-time at the school in both matches started and matches played in a season, starting all 22 appearances in 2008 for the ECAC Metro Tournament champions. Additionally, in 2010 DeMatteo played 1 season in the National Premier Soccer League for the New Jersey based club NJ Blaze.

DeMatteo currently holds licenses from the United States Soccer Federation as well as the United Soccer Coaches Association.


MATT POPLAWKSI ASSISTANT COACH

Poplawski joined the Quaker coaching staff in the fall of 2021, returning to Penn after graduating from the program in 2017.

A two-time captain for the Quakers, Poplawski had a successful playing career with Penn, totaling six goals and five assists for 17 points while capping off his time in the red and blue with a first-team All-Ivy recognition and ECAC All-Star nod. Over the course of four seasons, he started in 47 of the 57 games played in. Additionally, his first two years at Penn, he walked on to the men's basketball team. In his sophomore year, he played in 17 games with three starts in Ivy League play, registering 23 points and five assists.

Following graduation, Poplawski went right into coaching Division I soccer, moving down to North Carolina to work with Wake Forest as a volunteer assistant. Assisting in all the daily operations, he was a part of teams that won the ACC regular-season title in 2018 and the ACC tournament in 2017. Securing two NCAA tournament berths in 2017 and 2018, the Demon Deacons entered both tournaments as the overall No. 1 seed and advancing as far as the quarterfinals. He was a part of a coaching staff that was named the 2017 United Soccer Coaches South Region Coaching Staff of the Year, while the program had five players drafted to the MLS over two seasons.

After a two-year stint with Wake Forest, he headed further south for an assistant coaching position with South Florida in Tampa. During his tenure with the Bulls, the team secured an NCAA tournament berth in 2019 for the first time in three seasons, finishing the year with an 11-7-1 overall record. That season, two seniors signed professional contracts in the USL. In the most recent MLS SuperDraft, two players were picked up, while another player singed a professional contract in USL League One.

Poplawski currently has his U.S. Soccer "C" coaching license.


RYAN SANDELL VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT COACH

The University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer program and James C. Gentle head coach, Brian Gill, have announced an addition to their coaching staff, naming Ryan Sandell a volunteer assistant coach.

“I am excited to have Ryan joining the staff this upcoming season,” said Gill. “He is an eager young coach who just finished a year with Sean Topping at Muhlenberg College, making that one of many good stops along his journey that has taught him a lot. Ryan was able to come on board in the spring, giving him valuable time to get to know the players and campus. His main focus will be with our goalkeepers and keeping them sharp through the season, but he will also be involved in our day-to-day operations.”

Sandell has a long path from his playing career to more recently starting in coaching. His high school career was at local Catholic League contender, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, where he was a two-year starter and first-team All-Catholic League selection. He helped the team to back-to-back league semifinal appearances. His senior season, he posted a 14-4-2 record between the pipes with a 0.75 goals-against average.

His high school career led him to Division III Elizabethtown College where he started 20 of his 30 games played. Again, in his senior season, he registered a 14-4-2 record, helping the Blue Jays to the NCAA tournament and a first-round win over Vassar College. He was a first-team All-Conference honoree and earned a spot on the NSCAA Mid-Atlantic All-Region team. His career wrapped up with a 0.68 GAA, .825 save percentage and eight shutouts.

Following graduation, he started his semi-professional career in Pitman, New Jersey with the Philadelphia Fury of the American Soccer League. From 2017-18, he started in 25 games of the 29 games played, posting a 0.75 GAA.

In 2019, Sandell hopped the pond to Skellefteå, Sweden to play for Morön BK, helping the team to a league title and securing a promotion. During his time, he started all 22 games for a 15-2-1 regular season record and 3-0-1 in preseason friendlies. Over 1,620 minutes, he bolstered a 0.66 GAA and eight shutouts

His coaching career started in 2018 as a volunteer assistant coach and goalkeeper coach for nearby Drexel University. After a year with the Dragons, he took on his first full-time coaching opportunity in Allentown, Pennsylvania with Division III Muhlenberg College.

“I’m excited to be joining the staff at Penn and being given the opportunity to work with some exceptional players, goalkeepers and coaches,” said Sandell. “Having seen the quality of the team over the course of my first few months, I think the future is bright for this program and I am thrilled to be a part of it!”

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