Clover soccer coach hails from England

genegraham@comporium.netJune 26, 2013 

— Graham Stafford has been named the Clover High boys soccer coach.

Stafford, a 38-year-old native of Milton Keynes, England, has taught physical education at York Road Elementary in Rock Hill the past six years and while serving on the coaching staff at tradition-rich Northwestern High.

Stafford succeeds Chris Dundr, whose team advanced to the Class AAAA upper state championship game last season. Dundr resigned after the season.

“We are happy to have Graham Stafford join our athletic staff as varsity boys soccer coach,” Clover athletics director Carroll Hester said. “He has a great soccer background and outstanding resume. He is a good fit for our soccer program.”

In addition to coaching, Stafford will teach physical education and health.

Hester said Clover makes every effort to hire coaches with experience. “We try not to hire a coach with no experience in the coaching position to be filled,” he said. “We did this with the recent volleyball hire at CHS. It’s a hiring practice that will continue.”

Stafford’s soccer background includes involvement with the expansion of York County’s Discoveries Soccer Club as boys’ technical director.

He has conducted coach and player clinics with the Clover Parks and Recreation Department and the Lake Wylie Athletic Association.

“His familiarity with local recreation and club soccer leagues will benefit him greatly as he looks to build a program that embraces the community,” Hester said.

Stafford also brings a wealth of knowledge to Clover in the classroom.

He has 12 years of teaching experience, including his time at York Road, where he was responsible for teaching approximately 400 students and managing Challenger, the school’s after-school program.

At Northwestern, he helped coach the team to three state championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Stafford played semi-professional soccer with Milton Keynes Soccer Club and capped a four-year college career as a national champion at Brunel University College in London.

As a youth player, he trained with two English Premier League sides.

Stafford has coached at the youth, high school, and collegiate levels for 18 years. Before relocating to South Carolina, he worked with NOGA Soccer on Long Island, N.Y., Wilton (Conn.) High, Emerson College (Boston), the Rhode Island Olympic development program, Sporting Cristale Soccer Club (Mass.), New England Revolution, Cape Cod Crusaders (Buzzards Bay, Mass.), and Duxbury (Mass.) High.

At Emerson, an NCAA Division III member, he was coach for three seasons. With the New England Revolution of MLS, Stafford directed summer camps, clinics and academics.

Stafford and his wife, Stephanie, have two children and live in York.

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