Former Birmingham-Southern soccer coach Greg Vinson joins Thompson staff

Published 5:54 pm Monday, July 8, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Former college soccer player and coach Greg Vinson is heading down to the high school level, being announced as the Associate Head Coach and College Liaison for Thompson High School’s boys and girls soccer teams.

Vinson enters the position following the closing of Birmingham-Southern College, where he has been the men’s soccer team head coach for the last eight years and an assistant coach for 20 years prior to that. He also played college soccer with the Panthers as a goalkeeper.

Vinson is extremely excited to be stepping into this role, something he has envisioned himself doing for a little while.

“High school is something that has been on my mind for a long time,” Vinson said. “My best friends in coaching are all in the high school ranks, so I’ve watched them be able to pour into kids’ lives at the high school level and it’s just always been something that has amazed me and that I’ve appreciated. I think it was a quick and easy decision to take that step towards the high school scene.”

Vinson has coached many players that have gone on to have success in the soccer world as either coaches or players. One of those is Thompson head boys soccer coach Alex Levinson, who was also a goalkeeper at Birmingham-Southern.

Now that he will coach with one of his former mentors, Levinson is ecstatic about what is to come for the program with another piece of collegiate experience stepping in with the Warriors, while also knowing it is great to keep the legacy of the Panthers soccer program local.

“I think for me, I’m just so happy and have an immense amount of gratitude to be in the position that I am in,” Levinson said. “I think beyond just the soccer, it’s an unbelievable hire for Birmingham, probably the best high school hire a high school could ever hope for. I think to do it as a friend and to be in the position to make something like this happen I think speaks volumes for Alabaster City Schools. I also think it just is a really cool way to honor a legacy in Birmingham and to continue that legacy that was at Birmingham-Southern.”

For Vinson, he is going to take this time to use his knowledge of the college realm to help prepare his players for the next level even more than they already have been, hoping that it will benefit them in a major way.

“I’ve been very in tune with Thompson and how they are developing,” Vinson said. “Coach Levinson and coach (Dan) DeMasters, they already do this. They’ve been at the college level, they know what to impress upon players and what it takes to be at the next level. I think my role here is to be able to provide some most recent firsthand experience of that and the commitment level that it takes to play at the next level and bring that to life in the programs.”

Head girls soccer coach Dan DeMasters thinks that the players can take a lot away from learning under Vinson, hoping that the program and those surrounding it buy into the experience and unique perspective that he provides as a coach.

“Our parents and players need to use Greg as another resource for soccer knowledge,” DeMasters said. “Our players now have an even bigger resource to connect themselves to the next level. If that is a dream of yours, to play at the collegiate level or to play even higher than college level, coach Vinson has had players, he’s had All-Americans, he’s won conference championships. He knows the process from when you’re a freshman in high school all the way to when you’re committing to a college.”

Vinson set school records for most career saves and most career shutouts while in college as a goalie. Amongst his many accolades he was selected to the First Team All-America and named Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America/National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Player of the Year in his senior year in 1995. He was also inducted into the Birmingham-Southern Hall of Fame in 2000.

Now, Vinson will try to embed his knowledge into the next generation of Thompson soccer players with the hopes that they can take those lessons to new heights at the next level.