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Chris Gbandi

Head Coach

During his coaching career, Gbandi has helped lead his teams to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a 2011 appearance while in Storrs. Additionally, Gbandi has coached two NSCAA-All Americans, one NSCAA-All Atlantic Region Team player, and 10 All-Conference Team honorees. 

Prior to his coaching tenure, Gbandi was a highly decorated player. The first overall pick in the 2002 MLS super draft, he played nine years professionally for FC Dallas, Miami FC, and the FK Haugesund of the Norwegian Division. Gbandi also made an appearance for the Liberian National team in 2004 and was awarded FC Dallas Defender of the Year in 2006. 

Prior to his professional and coaching career, Gbandi was a key member of the men's soccer team from 1998-2001. A four-year letterman, Gbandi helped lead his team to four straight Big East Regular Season titles. He also led his team the 1999 Big East tournament title and brought home the Men's Soccer most recent NCAA Championship in 2000.  Individual achievements include 1998 Big East Rookie of the Year, three-time Big East Defender of the Year, four Big East First Team selections, and three All-America selections.  He was the Hermann trophy recipient as college soccer's top male player in 2000 and a finalist for the prestigious honor in 1999 and 2001.


Ray Reid
Former Head Men's Soccer Coach
I am so excited that Chris is coming home.  Chris is an outstanding head coach, and an even better person who will serve as a tremendous leader and role model for our student- athletes.  Winning is in his DNA, and we are extremely fortunate that he will be leading this program into the future.  I cannot wait to watch his team play.

Alecko Eskandarian
Senior Director, Player Relations & Player Development for Major League Soccer
I have had the honor of working with Chris Gbandi on several projects related to college soccer over the years and have the utmost respect for his drive and commitment to coaching. His experience as a former player (in MLS, internationally, and at UConn) gives him intimate knowledge on how to build a culture that breeds success. I have no doubt in his ability to recruit top players from academies that will carry on the traditions that UConn soccer has established over previous decades and preparing young men for life beyond soccer.

Luchi Gonzalez
United States Men's Soccer World Cup Assistant Coach
Over the years, I have competed against Chris at the college and professional levels. He was a resilient and proven winner as a player and continues to be so as a coach. With his competitive nature, leadership qualities, and passion for scouting and recruiting, I am confident he will do a first-class job bringing in and coaching the elite student-athletes at UConn.

Jason Kreis
Inter Miami CF Assistant Coach
Chris has had a long and distinguished affiliation with the game in our country on every level.  He has impacted the game in a major way, has established many great contacts, and has helped to develop top level pros and top-level men.  He looks to be the perfect fit to lead the distinguished college soccer program at UConn.

Max Zieky
Teammate and Co-Captain with Chris Gbandi
Chris is a fierce competitor that puts his teammates and players first. He embodies the culture at UConn where athletes go to obtain a world class degree and become a Champion! I have no doubt the committee made an outstanding choice in Chris and know there are Championships to come. The 2000 Championship Team knows first-hand he is the right person for the job and as Captain and co-pilot in the back I know he will WIN! Congratulations to Chris Gbandi, the current players, the administration, and the great fans of UConn Nation - LG!

Chris Gbandi spent six seasons as the head coach of the Northeastern men’s soccer team during 2021. He was appointed as the program’s sixth head coach on Jan. 11, 2016 by NU athletic director Peter Roby, who lauded Gbandi for being, “a proven winner, a tremendous role model, and a leader who is committed to the student-athlete experience and the success of the program.”

Gbandi currently resides in Glastonbury, CT with his wife, Crystal, daughter, Olivia and son, Luca.


  • Holds the second most wins in a season by a first-year coach in Northeastern History (2016)
  • Assisted for two seasons on the staff at Dartmouth, where he co-led the Big Green to consecutive Ivy League championships and NCAA tournament appearances (2014-15)
  • NSCAA East Regional Assistant Coach of the Year (2014)
  • Assisted at Holy Cross (2012-14)
  • Coached two NCAA All-Americans while at UConn (2011)
  • Three National Tournament berths (2011, 2014, 2015), including NCAA quarterfinals with UConn (2011)


  • First overall pick in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft
  • Made 111 MLS appearances for FC Dallas from 2002 to 2008
  • 2006 FC Dallas Defender of the Year
  • Played in the Norwegian First Division for FK Haugesund (2008)
  • Played with Miami FC in the USL as a player/assistant
  • Played on the Liberian National Team (2004)


  • Four year letterwinner at UConn (1998-2001)
  • Four straight BIG EAST Regular Season titles
  • 1999 BIG EAST Tournament Champion
  • 2000 Hermann Trophy recipient as college soccer’s top male player, finalist in 1999 and 2001
  • Three time All-American (1999, 2000, 2001)
  • Four time BIG EAST First Team selection, first time in conference history
  • Three time BIG EAST Defender of the Year (1999, 2000, 2001)
  • 1998 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year


All-CAA Firs Team: ... 2021: Federico Tellez 

All-CAA Second Team (6): ... 2021: Benjamin Klingen 2020: Timothy Ennin 2019: Benjamin Klingen 2018: Martin Nygaard, Harry Swartz ... 2017: Harry Swartz.
All-CAA Third Team (7): ...2021: Timothy Ennin, Colby Hegarty 2020: Benjamin Klingen 2019: Ryan Massoud, Timothy Ennin 2018: Moustapha Samb ... 2016: Ackim Mpofu.
CAA Rookie of the Year (1): ...2019:. Timothy Ennin.
CAA All-Rookie Team (2): ... 2021:Søren Ilsøe, Andres Torrealba, Sebastian Restrepo  2020: Zach Sauer. 2019: Timothy Ennin 2018: Ryan Massoud.