In 72 career games, Bob Thompson, BC ’03, tallied 14 goals, 20 assists, and 48 total points, solidifying himself as one of the most prolific players to ever wear a Boston College men’s soccer uniform. In fact, as far as the Eagles’ record book is concerned, the Framingham, Mass. native still ranks tied for 15th in goals, sixth in assists, and 12th in points. Fifteen years post-graduation and five removed from serving as one of head coach Ed Kelly’s assistants, Thompson is leaving Massachusetts Lowell and returning to the Heights—this time as the program’s associate head coach.
Kelly, who is one of Thompson’s lifelong mentors, announced the hiring on Friday morning, confirming the player-coach reunion.
“My wife and I are extremely grateful for the opportunity to return to Boston College,” Thompson told BCEagles.com. “BC has influenced my life in so many positive ways as a student-athlete and as a coach, and this opportunity feels like coming home again.”
While at BC, the midfielder not only climbed team leaderboards, but he also played a major role in the Eagles’ first-ever trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals. As a senior, he logged 10 assists—the second-most in BC single-season history—and helped guide the Eagles to a program-best 18 wins, en route to the Elite Eight, earning All Big East First Team honors along the way. The 2002 campaign wasn’t much of a fluke. Over the course of Thompson’s four-year career, the Eagles won two Big East Tournaments and made two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Following graduation, the collegiate standout made the jump to the next level. Thompson played three seasons of professional soccer, including two with the MLS’s New England Revolution (2004-05). Eventually, he stepped away from the game—well, not entirely.
Thompson took up coaching in 2008 when he was hired by Northeastern as an assistant coach. After working in the Colonial Athletic Association for a couple of years, he moved to Tufts, where he served as both an assistant coach and the team’s recruiting coordinator. During his brief two-year stint, the Jumbos did a complete 180. The year before he joined the team, Tufts posted a putrid 2-10-2 record. By the time he left, the team was fresh off a 9-3-2 season and just a few years away from winning the Division III NCAA National Championship.
In 2012, Thompson made his first return to Chestnut Hill, assuming the positions of assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Along with Kelly, he was integral in persuading players like Zeiko Lewis—who went on to notch the sixth-most points in school history—to commit to BC. Thompson’s success at his alma mater led to him receiving an assistant coaching job at neighboring UMass Lowell.
Working with a program that had recently transitioned to Division One, he teamed up with head coach Christian Figueroa to turn a mid-low tier squad into one of the more respected non-Power Five teams in the country. Everything clicked in 2016 when the River Hawks captured the American East regular season title with a 13-2-1 (5-1-1 America East) record. The program’s best-ever mark didn’t go unnoticed. To cap off what was a memorable campaign, Thompson and the rest of the UMass Lowell coaches were honored as the American East Coaching Staff of the Year.
Thompson was promoted to associate head coach in his final year with the River Hawks before taking on the same role at BC. He continues to ascend in the coaching ranks, all while finding his way back home.
“I look forward to the opportunity to help lead the men’s soccer program to a bright future, and my wife and I look forward to serving the Boston College community,” Thompson said.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Senior Staff