Men’s soccer coach Adam Boyer wins Young Leaders Award

Steve Jones

Adam Boyer is essentially a CEO.

As the head coach of the Spalding men’s soccer team, Boyer oversees all aspects of his NCAA Division III program. He recruits, trains, manages and evaluates his student-athletes and staff. He handles a budget, sets a schedule for practices and games and keeps tabs on facilities and transportation.

He plays a hand in marketing and social media, and he organizes community service projects.

And the 31-year-old Boyer, of course, goes out and tries to win games for the Golden Eagles.

Boyer’s multifaceted leadership was recently recognized when he was named one of 20 winners of the inaugural Young Leaders Awards from Louisville Business First, in partnership with YPAL (Young Professionals Association of Louisville). The awards go to “20 rising stars who are demonstrating excellence in both their workplace and in the Louisville community,” according to Business First. He and the others will be honored on March 29 during a reception at the Ice House downtown.

Boyer is the only honoree from a sports-related profession. The others come from more traditional business fields such as accounting, law, fundraising and construction.

“I was excited about it and thankful for the recognition and being able to represent the university on a local level,” Boyer said, “and to get our name out there and let people know what we’re doing, that we have good people here at Spalding who are working hard.

“There is a really impressive group of young professionals in the city. I’m proud to be recognized among them.”

Only a few weeks removed from his 31st birthday, Boyer already has completed six seasons as a head coach at Spalding. As a 25-year-old, the former Centre College All-American and academic All-American was hired to lead the Golden Eagles.

He inherited a team coming off a 1-15 season. Spalding improved to 6-10 in Boyer’s first season, and by 2016, he led the school to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title. He was named the league’s coach of the year that season.

“One of the nice aspects of working in smaller-college athletics is you do have your hands in every aspect of the program,” said Boyer, a grad of Manual High School. “I’m very appreciative of the opportunity (athletic director Roger Burkman) gave me to the program at a young age. … To have been a Division III athlete, and now run the only Division III program in my hometown really is a dream come true.”

He added: “It’s been really cool, really fun. For me, nothing can beat running my own college soccer program in my hometown. I think Spalding as a university, as an athletic department has so much potential and is only getting stronger.”

Spalding’s university mission is to serve a diverse community of learners, and Boyer said he’s been proud to recruit a roster that includes players of 10 nationalities, including from Africa, Latin America, East Asia and the Middle East.

“That’s been the neatest aspect of coaching here and probably the most rewarding,” he said. “I’ve grown immensely as an individual getting to be around such a diverse group and learn about their families, their backgrounds and their upbringing.

“Louisville is a diverse city, and what we do we know about the game of soccer? It’s the world’s game, played across the globe. … Soccer as a sport that connects with the diversity that Spalding represents.”

Boyer has led community service initiatives with the soccer team, including through camps and clinics. The Golden Eagles have worked with the Bluegrass Center for Autism, Special Olympics, Jefferson County Public Schools’ ESL Newcomer Academy, Metro Parks, Boys and Girls Haven and the Walden School.

“It’s something that falls within our mission as a university,” Boyer said, “and it’s something individually that I think is important to make a part of the student-athlete experience if you’re coming to Spalding.”

A major initiative for Spalding’s athletic department and soccer program is to complete fundraising for the proposed athletic fields complex a few blocks from campus between South Eighth and South Ninth streets. The project would turn a previously abandoned 7.5-acre tract into home fields for the Golden Eagles’ men’s and women’s soccer and softball teams while creating a large urban green space. The soccer teams currently play home games at Champions Trace Park.

“It’s a motivation to work hard and continue with the mission of the school and the opportunity that’s in front of us,” Boyer said. “We’re kind of looking for that staple facility that kind of exemplifies who we are and where we’re going. I think the complex is exactly that. It’s a type of complex doesn’t exist anywhere in Louisville at this time. It would give us a home to be proud of and a selling point for prospective-athletes and an opportunity to take this program to the next level from a regional and national standpoint.”