The American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Soccer Teams were selected by TopDrawerSoccer.com based on performance, level of competition and strength of schedule. Players from states that play fall, winter or spring soccer were eligible for selection.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Vincenzo Cox, Alief Elsik
Name: Vincenzo Cox
School: Alief Elsik (Houston, Texas)
Vincenzo Cox had no interest in coaching. None.
For the former collegiate track and field standout at the University of Houston who was in the 1996 Olympic Trials as a hurdler and later had soccer tryouts with the KC Wizards and Columbus Crew, he was ready to put his athletic life behind him and move into the education world as a high school teacher.
Now, 12 years later, he’s the ALL-USA High School Boys Soccer Coach of the Year after leading Elsik (Alief, Texas) to a 25-0-2 season and the program’s first ever state title.
“The first two years, I had no interest in coaching,” he said. “I didn’t see myself as a coach. Other coaches at Elsik knew my background so they started asking me to help out a day here, a day there. Then I worked with one kid, then two … I never went into it to be a coach, but then it happened. I just use all of my experiences from track and soccer, and I put it together.”
Cox has done more than just put it together.
He’s built multinational Elsik into a state power, capped by a 2018 Class 6A title in one of the most demanding playoff systems in the nation — a 128-team, single-elimination event. Cox has a 10-year coaching record of 198-36-25, and the program is 86-8-5 over the past four seasons.
He is quick to point out he had more talented teams at Elsik than the 2018 squad, but this year’s team had the right combination of talent, leadership, spirit and drive that resulted in an undefeated season.
Elsik figures to remain in the forefront of Texas high school soccer for the foreseeable future. The team, which has players from Central and South American countries along with a strong African presence, started only four seniors in 2018.
Cox attributes much of his coaching success to being able to learn from and get advice from his former college coach Tom Tellez, a member of the US Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame member, and personal friend and former European pro soccer play Mohamed Kallon.
“Last night I spent four hours with Tom Tellez,” Cox said. “I’m still learning from him how to approach kids and how to make a positive impact on them.”
PRESEASON: ALL-USA Preseason Boys Soccer Team
LOOKBACK: 2016-17 ALL-USA Boys Soccer Teams