Adam Pfeifer Ready for the Pressure After Successful Debut Season With Vermont Green FC
“I mean it’s football so we know that things can get a little bit crazy.”
The 2022 USL League Two season far surpassed the expectations of Vermont Green FC head coach Adam Pfeifer. After reaching the playoffs in the club’s debut season, the standard has been raised.
“For us, the goal was not so much playoffs and what happened on the field as much as that was really important,” Pfeifer told The Blazing Musket. The goal was to provide from a soccer standpoint, the best possible experience for these college players. The kind of experience that their coaches would want them to go back into the following season and the kind of place that college coaches would want to send their players. So from that standpoint, I think we were really successful and then on top of that, the success on the field was great.
“We left it a little bit last year,” Pfeifer added. “We think we had some results earlier in the season that maybe with a little bit more experience in the league just collectively as a group from the coaching staff to the players, we could have managed a little bit better but we were able to kind of have this sort of storybook ending to our home game slate the way that the Western Mass game went down and the obviously winning a game on the road in the playoffs was great but we think that we can do even more. The expectations now are going to be much higher.”
The current Vermont Green FC head coach and sporting director played collegiately at Boston College where he finished in the top 20 of the school's all-time points list and top 10 on the all-time assists list for the Eagles.
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Pfeifer began his coaching career in 2006 as the associate head coach for Northeastern’s men’s side. He helped lead Northeastern to a 68-60-26 record in eight seasons with the Huskies. Pfeifer then spent two seasons as an assistant coach for Middlebury College where he worked under legendary head coach David Saward who coached Middlebury for 33 seasons.
Now when Pfeifer isn’t with Vermont Green FC, he is the head coach of Norwich University where he has manned the touchline for six seasons.
While the on-field product clearly surpassed expectations, the same could be said for the club’s success off the field. In the club’s final home game of the season, Virtue Field was sold out as Vermont clinched a playoff birth.
“As far as the northeast USL Two scene goes, what we have is really unique and special,” Pfeifer said of the fan base. “It’s very Vermont and we were very fortunate to have the kind of support that we have.”
On top of making the playoffs, the Green had three players get drafted by MLS clubs in the 2023 SuperDraft. Owen O’Malley was drafted ninth overall by St. Louis CITY SC, Nick Kristofferson was selected 25th overall by CF Montreal, and Eythor Bjørgolffson was drafted 38th overall by the Seattle Sounders.
This was another milestone that Pfeifer and the club didn’t expect to reach in their debut season.
“That was something that we knew down the line at some point we would have players that pushed on to become professionals,” Pfeifer said. “I don’t know if we anticipated it happening as quick as we did.
The head coach added that it was also a reward to watch players from the Green go back and succeed back with their college teams.
“I think between the success that Vermont had, the success that Creighton had, we had three guys from Cornell,” said Pfeifer. “I think that the success that those teams had was very gratifying for us because we felt like we took pretty good care of our players and we sent them back healthy. That’s a big part of USL 2 is being able to manage the players in the summer and send them back to their college programs as healthy as possible and fit and sharp. That’s why they are here and we felt like we did a good job of that. Obviously the success that those teams had was not because of us but we felt like we were able to contribute in a positive fashion. That’s been one of the best things that’s helped us the most coming into this season and being able to sign a lot of top quality players.”
While Vermont will be bringing back familiar faces such as Diba Nwegbo, Charlie Adams, and Rodrigo Ferriera, the club also will be bringing in some new faces.
New England Revolution academy product Gevork Diarbian is joining the Green along with Sporting CP youth product Bernardo Prego.
With preparations for the 2023 USL League Two underway, Pfeifer believes that making the playoffs is the expectation for the club moving forward.
“I mean it’s football so we know that things can get a little bit crazy,” the head coach said. “We can have as talented of a team as we want, doesn’t mean that things are gonna go our way but I do think it’s fair to say that the expectations are that we make the playoffs now. You know, there is going to be a little bit more pressure and I think that with the amount of season tickets that have been sold and things like that, it’s clearly going to be bigger. We’re going to be on a bigger stage this summer, just in our own community. People want to see teams go out and score goals and win games. There is going to be a little bit more pressure from that standpoint and we just have to find a way to manage that.”