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After 24 seasons and a program-record victories total, George Lidster will coach his final two home matches this weekend as the George Washington men's soccer team hosts St. Bonaventure and Duquesne this Friday and Sunday, respectively. Coach Lidster announced his retirement in August effective the conclusion of the 2011 season following a 24-year career at GW and a three-decade span as a player and coach in the DC metro area.
Under Lidster's direction, the Colonials have made three trips to the NCAA Tournament (1989, 2002, 2004) and ten Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament appearances, including winning league tournament titles in 2002 and 2004, and the 1992 regular-season championship. In 1989, he led GW to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament and a team-record 14 victories, including a 3-1 decision against George Mason on Nov. 11, 1989, which marked the program's first NCAA tournament triumph. 15 years later in 2004, Lidster guided the Colonials to their second NCAA victory, a 1-0 upset at North Carolina in the first round, and an improbable 10-9-4 record after starting the season 1-8-3.
Lidster has been named the Atlantic 10 Coach of Year twice. He was recognized for the first time after the team's highly successful 1989 campaign -- his third season at the helm of the program -- and he earned co-Coach of the Year laurels after leading GW to its first regular-season A-10 title in 1992. In addition to his conference honors, Lidster was named the NCAA South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in 1987, his first season in Foggy Bottom, after piloting the Colonials to a 10-5-3 overall record. He was one of only eight regional coaches selected nationwide.
Early in his stint at GW, Lidster mentored two-time All-American Mario Lone, and had three of his players earn Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors (Kenny Emson in 1987, Lone in 1989 and 1991, and Marcelo Valencia in 1992). In addition, 21 players have earned a total of 38 all-conference accolades and 10 players have earned A-10 all-rookie honors on his watch.
Many of Lidster's charges have also been recognized on the regional level, including Lone, Valencia, Ben Ferry, -- who owns the NCAA single-season assist record (24 in 1997) -- Matt Osborne and most recently, Andy Stadler, who earned NSCAA Middle Atlantic All-Region honors in 2008 and 2009.
In addition to their on-the-field success, the Colonials also have been successful in the classroom under Lidster. His 2002 and 2008 squads earned the prestigious NSCAA Academic Team Award for exceptional academic performance and the program has earned the NCAA's Public Recognition Award for Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores three consecutive years from 2007-09. In 2002, Matt Osborne was named Verizon's Academic All-America Player of the Year for men's soccer. In 22 seasons, Lidster has had 26 players earn A-10 Academic All-Conference recognition.
Lidster began his coaching career in 1984 as an assistant coach under the late Gordon Bradley at George Mason and helped the Patriots reach three NCAA tournaments before taking the reins at GW in 1987.
A native of Durham, England, Lidster began his playing career with Newcastle United and Darlington FC before attending Loughborough University, where he received a teaching certificate in physical education in 1975. Lidster moved to the United States and received a bachelor's degree in communications in 1984 from the University of Illinois-Springfield (formerly Sangamon State), where he was an All-American soccer player and earned team MVP honors.
Lidster continued his playing career in the Washington-metro area, helping the Fairfax Spartans to the National Amateur Cup crown in 1986, along with former U.S. National Team members Desmond Armstrong, John Kerr Jr., Bruce Murray and Bruce Stohlmeyer. He later served as a player and assistant coach with the Washington Stars of the American Soccer League and American Professional Soccer League, and captained the ASL All-Star team and was an All-ASL Team defender in the league's inaugural season in 1988.
Lidster remained on the pitch after the demise of the APSL, serving as assistant coach and captain of the Richmond Kickers of the USISL in 1994-95 and the Washington Mustangs in 1995-96.
Lidster continued coaching during a year-long sabbatical in England June 1997-July 1998, working in the community schemes of Milwall FC and Chelsea FC of the English Premier League. He also directed coaching courses and soccer academies, identifying and developing players throughout the south of England.
Currently, Lidster runs several youth soccer camps and clinics in the Washington, DC area and across the country. He has also served two terms on the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer South Atlantic Regional Advisory Committee.
Lidster has two sons, Matthew (23), a U.S. Marine who has served two tours in Iraq, and Daniel (20), a junior soccer player at Old Dominion. Lidster and his wife, Valerie, were married in August 2008.
COLONIALS UNDER LIDSTER Year Overall A-10 Note 1987 10-5-3 2-1-0 A-10 Championship appearance NCAA South Atlantic Coach of the Year 1988 6-9-4 2-1-0 A-10 Championship appearance 1989 14-5-1 2-1-0 A-10 Championship appearance NCAA Tournament Second Rd. A-10 Coach of the Year 1990 8-8-5 4-1-3 A-10 Championship appearance 1991 14-5-1 5-2-0 A-10 Championship appearance 1992 10-5-6 5-0-2 A-10 Championship appearance A-10 Co-Coach of the Year 1993 8-9-1 3-3-1 1994 4-12-1 3-4-0 1995 9-7-1 5-5-0 1996 11-6-1 6-4-1 1998 5-12-2 4-5-2 1999 3-12-2 2-8-1 2000 9-5-4 6-3-2 A-10 Championship appearance 2001 9-7-0 6-5-0 2002 13-9-0 7-4-0 A-10 Champions, NCAA Tournament First Rd. 2003 7-11-2 5-4-2 A-10 Championship appearance 2004 10-9-4 6-3-2 A-10 Champions, NCAA Tournament Second Rd. 2005 6-8-3 3-5-1 2006 5-9-3 2-5-2 2007 9-8-2 3-4-2 DC College Cup champions 2008 8-6-3 4-3-2 DC College Cup champions 2009 10-8-0 4-5-0 2010 3-15-0 1-8-0 23 yrs. 191-190-49 (overall), 90-83-23 (A-10), 2 A-10 Titles, 3 NCAA Tournaments
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