Richard H. McConnell was born and raised in Anderson, SC. He started playing soccer at age 5. He played in the YMCA youth league until age 14th when he was selected for the Upper State Olympic Development Program (ODP) team. He made the South Carolina ODP state team after the top #18 players from Lower State, Middle State and Upper State competed for the team that would represent SC at Wake Forest during the ODP Regional Camp against 9 other states. Richard continued to play and compete in the Olympic Development Program from 1984-1988 reaching the Regional ODP Pool. He was asked to try out for the prestigious Greenville Club “St. Giles” team in 1984 and continued playing for the club until college. This team won #2 State titles in 87 and 88, and a Regional Club title in 1988. Additionally, this team was invited to compete internationally in 1988 and toured England, Scotland, and Wales competing against top youth clubs and young professionals. #14 players from this “St Giles” team received college soccer scholarships.
Richard played High School soccer for TL Hanna and SC Hall of Fame coach Dick Smith. He was TL Hannaʼs first 5 year letterman and was named to the All Conference and All Region/State teams in 1988 and 1989. Additionally, he was the first player selected for the North/South All Star game in 1989. He finished his High School career with #26 goals and #21 assists and named “Best Offensive Player” in 1989. He ranks #5th all time in goals and assists in the 35 year program. Richard signed with Division #1, College of Charleston, in 1989 and played for famed college coach Ralph Lundy. He redshirted his first season due to a broken ankle received in the Upper State final during his last game in High School. During his time with the College of Charleston soccer team, he helped the Cougars win the Trans America Conference (TAAC) 90-94 playing midfield for the team. The Cougars reached the NCAA Tournament Birth in 1994 and lost to UCLA in the final 8 of the tournament in California.
Richard was the first Anderson native to sign a professional soccer contract in 1995. He signed his professional contract with Chatanooga Express in the USISL Pro League, playing for 1st Division Argentina International player and coach, Pedro Kozak. Richard was the starting center half for the Express compiled of domestic and international
players and help the team finish 3rd, in the South East division his first year. He continued playing for the Express during the 96 and 97 seasons. During the end of the 97 season, he suffered a career ending hamstring tear and was forced to end his professional playing career.
After his professional playing career, he became a USSF Licensed Coach training the Georgia U14 Olympic Development Team and youth players in the greater Atlanta area. He started running his own soccer camps in the summer months in Anderson, SC with another TL Hanna standout and professional player Kevin Kinley. Since moving back to Anderson, he was asked to help coach and train the TL Hanna boys team with HOF Hanna Coach Dick Smith and famed Bermuda player and former Erskine and AU College Coach Rick Wright, in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
“Richard has a passion for the game of soccer and looks forward to providing a solid and technical foundation for young players seeking to quickly improving their skills through private training”.
Rick Wright joins Richard to present the Soccer Skillz Academy Program who will be presenting a Soccer Camp Program beginning Summer of 2017. Rick's formidable experience includes:
Advisory Role with SIMA (Soccer Institute of Montverde Academy)
Head Soccer Coach - Anderson College (Anderson University) where he started the Anderson College program in 1982. Multiple Region X Championships, perennial Top 10 National Rankings, Coached 10 "All-American" Players.
Head Soccer Coach - Erskine College, Men and Women. Both programs are ranked in the Top 5 in the NAIA. Multiple District VI Championships. Coached several "All-Americans" and several players in the MLS.
Director of Coaching and Co-Founder of the S.C. Striker Soccer Club.
Ten Years on the ODP Region III soccer staff. Coached Region III Teams in several International Tournaments. Runner-up in the Fritz Walter Tournament (Austria) and the Real Madrid Tournament (Spain).
Tweive Years ODP-South Carolina state coaching staff.
As a Player Rick achieved:
3X All-American, 4X All-South Region and All District.
Drafted into the North American Soccer League (Chicago Sting), American Soccer League (Carolina Lightnin').
Member of the 1979 Datagraphic National Amateur Cup Champions. Runner-up in 1980.
Member of the Bermuda National Team and the Youth National Teams 1974-1978.
Member of the 1976 US Olympic Team (Montreal, Canada)
Represented Bermuda in four sports at the schoolboy level (Soccer, Rugby, Sailing and Badminton).
Bermuda Optimist Dinghy National Champion in 1972 and 1973.