Tony Annan ready to lead Gamecock soccer to new heights

Tony Annan ready to lead Gamecock soccer to new heights
Annan built Atlanta United's youth development academy from scratch, one of Major League Soccer's premier clubs. (Source: Gamecock Athletics)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gamecock men’s soccer embraces a new identity. The program recently welcomed its second coach in school history, Tony Annan.

He met with the media for the first time on Tuesday.

Annan says there’s a lot of work to do. After all, this program has not had great success in recent years, having last made the NCAA Tournament in 2016.

“Players will be held accountable,” Annan said. “Some will survive, and some won’t.”

A culture shift begins to take place under new leadership on the pitch.

Annan sets the expectations to start his tenure. He eyes a winning brand of football in Columbia. It starts by evaluating the current roster.

“I’m analyzing the team as we speak,” Annan said. " I’m watching video every day of the games that they played. I’m trying to get a feel for each individual and what they bring to the team.”

Developing a roster is Annan’s specialty. He built Atlanta United’s youth development academy from scratch, one of Major League Soccer’s premier clubs.

“It’s about the players and school first,” Annan said. “I want to deliver championships. That’s a ways away. The most important piece right now is to get the team identity and team culture and training environment in the best place we can get it in the first season.”

Annan believes the stars aligned to make this move.

“Felt an energy,” Annan said about the UofSC campus. “The support at the University is something I have not felt in a long time.”

Annan welcomes the opportunity to build upon the tradition set by Mark Berson, the program’s lone leader for 43 years.

“It’s an honor and privilege to follow Mark in the door,” mentioned Annan. “He’s been a big influence over my career.”

Now Annan is ready to make his mark on Carolina soccer.

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