Dave Giffard enters his 14th season at the helm of the VCU Men’s Soccer program in the fall of 2023, accumulating a 109-92-41 overall record with the Rams. During his tenure at VCU, Giffard has garnered many coaching honors. In addition to being named the 2018 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, Giffard was also named one of the Top 10 coaches in college soccer by Top Drawer Soccer in 2016. In addition, Giffard was named the 2012 Virginia State Coach of the Year.
Under the direction of Giffard, VCU men’s soccer has soared to new heights. The Rams have been a force in the A-10, compiling a 53-19-20 conference record and making four appearances in the conference title game (2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017) and recently claiming the 2018 A-10 regular season title. Under Giffard, the Black & Gold have made three NCAA Tournament appearances (2012, 2013, 2017) including the #14 overall seed in 2012 and the #16 overall seed in 2017. The squad made it to the second round in both 2012 and 2017.
The Rams have gained national attention under Giffard, with at least one appearance in the national top-25 poll 10 of the last 12 seasons and more than 25 top-25 wins. He continually recruits some of the best players in the country to play in a VCU uniform. In the last ten years, VCU has had six top-20 recruiting classes, including four of the the last six seasons.
Giffard has an impressive track record of developing young players who come to play under him. Recently, two VCU Men’s Soccer players have been ranked one of the nation’s Top-10 best players by Top Drawer Soccer. In 2018, Siad Haji was ranked the #8 player in the nation, and Rafael Andrade Santos was ranked #6 in 2017. Giffard has coached six student-athletes to All-American honors in Siad Haji, Juan Monge Solano, Rafael Andrade Santos, Dennis Castillo, Romena Bowie and Ulrik Edvardsen. Twenty-four of Giffard's players have been named United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA) All-Region players. In addition to national honors, Giffard’s athletes continue to accumulate conference honors, including five Conference Players of the Year (Siad Haji, Rafael Andrade Santos, Dennis Castillo, Jason Johnson and Celio Pompeu) and 55 All-Conference players.
Since he started coaching in 1999, Giffard has been a pipeline to the pros, with more than 150 of his athletes having gone to play professionally. In his thirteen years at VCU, more than 50 of Giffard’s players have gone on to the pro ranks. His former athletes have played in leagues in the United States, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Costa Rica, Germany and the Netherlands to name a few. In the last eight years, VCU has had eight MLS Draft Picks. At the conclusion of 2021, sophomore Celio Pompeu became the third VCU player to leave school early since 2013 to sign with Major League Soccer. Last fall, Phillip Klomp left VCU after his sophomore season to sign with FC Volendam of the Dutch Eredivisie. In the 2020 draft, Ryo Shimazaki was selected in the fourth round by Columbus Crew. In the 2019 draft, Siad Haji was selected #2 overall by the San Jose Earthquakes. Haji was the highest draft pick ever out of VCU in any sport and tied with Marcus Camby for the highest draft pick of any sport in the A-10. Other draft picks from VCU include Jason Johnson, Dennis Castillo, Dakota Barnathan, Juan Arbelaez, Kharlton Belmar and Rafael Andrade Santos.
Giffard's program consistently produces players catching the attention of MLS. Since 2013, VCU is one of only 12 schools that has had multiple Generation Adidas contracts. VCU joins the elite ranks of Syracuse, Akron, North Carolina, Indiana, UCLA, Maryland, Louisville, Wake Forest, Creighton, Saint Louis and UCF in this category.
Over the past 44 seasons, VCU Soccer has become known nationally as a program that plays at the highest levels of the college game appearing in the top 25 polls in 10 out of the last 12 years, winning conference championships, appearing in the NCAA tournament and producing players that go on to play professionally with more than 50 players signing professional contracts since 2010.
The same coaching philosophy is brought to our soccer camps as we focus on player development and fun while helping players to reach towards their goals within the game in a safe and inclusive environment.
An aspect that sets VCU apart from other top college programs is the focus on individual player development. Coach Giffard has brought his approach to the program as well as to his soccer camps.
"Our philosophy is to create a competitive environment where competitive players have to push themselves to their very best every day in order to earn their place within the squad. We've found that over a 3-4 year period that type of daily competition, effort and the building of professional habits, allows for a tremendous amount of growth and change within a player both on and off the field. If you have a squad of 25-30 players all on that pathway, the potential for your team to grow and compete at a championship level is always there if you have the requisite amount of talent and character."
'Within our camp program, we utilize some of the same ideas and always have current players around the campers both teaching and modeling the habits that allow them each to reach towards their potential. One of the biggest areas young players in our country lack are role models and older players to look up to within their communities who have already walked the path that they are on now. We feel as though this is one of the most important aspects of our camp offerings."