Our Staff

Tennant McVea

Head Coach


After seven seasons as Associate Head Coach, Tennant McVea will start his first season as Head Coach of the Old Dominion Monarchs after taking over for Alan Dawson at the end of the 2023 season. McVea returned to the staff in 2017 after being an integral part of the Men’s Soccer Staff from 2013-2015. During that time the program won the institutions first Conference USA Championship trophy in 2014.

In 2023, ODU started unbeaten in its first 10 matches and recorded wins over Radford, William & Mary, Kentucky, Coastal Carolina and Campbell. Karan Mandair and Jonas Schmalbach tied for the single season goals scored lead with five. All five of Mandair's came on penalty kicks including game-winners against Kentucky and Campbell. Michael Statham had four shutouts in goal including the win over Kentucky.

In 2022, the Monarchs rejoined one of the toughest conferences in soccer with their first season back in the Sun Belt and opened conference play with a 4-2 win at Georgia Southern. Freshman Michael Statham was a standout in goal with five shutouts, including one over 20th-ranked Campbell. ODU knocked off fourth-ranked Marshall 2-1 on October 15 behind goals from Michael Eberle and Samuel Mar Kristinsson. As a result of that win, Statham earned Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors, while Kristinsson was named College Soccer News Team of the Week

In the fall of 2021, Eliot Goldthorp was an All C-USA Second Team selection and an All-Freshman Team honoree, while Josh Thacker earned All C-USA Third Team honors.  A total of 24 Monarchs were named to the Conference USA Honor Roll, while seven ODU Student-athletes earning a C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal. 
In 2020-21, McVea helped coach Josh Thacker to a Conference USA Freshman of the Year award. Thacker was named to the All C-USA Second Team and All-Freshman Team. Djibril Doumbia was named to the All-Conference USA Third Team, while Ettore Casadei joined Thacker on the All-Freshman Team. Thacker garnered College Soccer News All-Freshman Team laurels. Additionally, Thacker and Casadei were also named to the All-State Team. A total of 19 Monarchs were named to the Conference USA Honor Roll, while seven ODU student-athletes earned a C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal. 
The 2019 campaign saw the Monarchs garner victories over VCU, South Carolina and William & Mary. Senior Deniz Dogan scored a team-high five goals with two assists for 12 points and was named to the C-USA All-Academic Team. That season the Monarchs had six named to the C-USA Academic Honor Roll, while two earned C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal honors.
In 2018, McVea was instrumental in ODU finishing second place in the C-USA with a 6-2-0 mark in league play. The Monarchs returned an exciting core group from the 2017 Conference USA Championship winning team. The team lost on the final night of the season to the #3 ranked team in the nation, University of Kentucky, in a game that decided the regular season champions. The Monarchs went on to lose in the Conference USA Semifinal to the #14 ranked University of Charlotte and narrowly missed out on another trip to the NCAA National Championship.
That year the Monarchs again picked up multiple post season honors on and off the field. Niko Klosterhalfen ended his career being named to the Google Cloud Third Team Academic All American. He was the first Monarch to earn the award since Men’s Basketball’s Alex Loughton earned the honor in 2006. The German native boasted a 3.88 GPA and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in psychology. Six Monarchs tabbed places on the Conference USA end of season All Conference Teams, while 11 named to C-USA Academic Honor Roll and two earned C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal honors.

Upon his return McVea was instrumental in building the 2017 Conference USA championship winning team that advanced to the national tournament. After a standout 2-0 win at home to NC State, the Monarchs narrowly lost to NCAA finalists Indiana in the second round.
In that year Brandon Perdue was named VaSID Rookie of the year and Mertcan Akar earned VaSID All State first team honors. Akar, along with Niko Klosterhalfen, Fox Slotemaker and Max Wilschrey, also picked up United Soccer Coaches All Southeast Region honors. Seven Monarchs garnered all Conference USA awards for their efforts on the field while. Niko Klosterhalfen was one of 14 to earn a place on the Conference USA All-Academic Team gaining a 3.84 GPA. 

McVea played a pivotal role in the development of defensive captain Fox Slotemaker who went on to sign a professional contract with Tasman United in his native New Zealand.

McVea spent the 2016 season as an Assistant Coach with Elon University working alongside current MLS Assistant Coach Chris Little (Colorado Rapids). While at Elon, McVea helped the Phoenix to a 7-6-4 record 3-2-3 in the CAA and coached Elijah Agu to an NSCAA All-Region Second-Team nod.
Off the field, McVea is responsible for the academic success of the Men’s Soccer student athletes. Since his return in 17 the team have consistently been one of the top-ranking men’s teams on campus. In the spring of 2023, the Program earned a 3.35 GPA tabbing them the highest male sport team GPA.
As well as his work at Old Dominion, McVea has become an integral part of the soccer community in Hampton Roads. He has been involved in coaching and mentorship of players at local ECNL club Beach FC since 2013 and has been on staff at Newport News based Lionsbridge FC (USL 2) since their formation in 2017. McVea has mentored and developed multiple players who have played professionally in the United States in the MLS, USL Championship and USL League one as well as Europe and beyond. He currently holds a B license with United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and is part of the current cohort for the prestigious USSF A Senior License with some of the top head and assistant coaches in the MLS, NWSL and USL Championship.
After a stellar collegiate career, McVea signed his first professional contract with Finnish Premier League club FC Lahti in 2010. McVea played for several clubs in the United States and Europe before retiring from playing. He was capped for his country, Northern Ireland, from the U16-U19 level and captained the team at the U17 European Championships in 2004.
McVea played collegiately at Loyola University of Maryland where he was a First Team All-American in 2008 as well as a three-time All-Region selection. McVea, was the first player to be named MAAC player of the year three times in a row and captained the team to three straight national tournament appearances from 2007-09. The Greyhounds were ranked as high as sixth in the nation in 2008. In 2009, he was a finalist for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior Class Award.
He graduated from Loyola with a degree in advertising and public relations and a minor in general business in 2009.
McVea and his wife Jaclyn live in Virginia Beach with their son Tennant and daughter Carson.

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Nathan Jones

Associate Head Coach


Nathan Jones will begin his fifth season with ODU in 2024 and his first as Associate Head Coach

In 2023, ODU started unbeaten in its first 10 matches and recorded wins over Radford, William & Mary, Kentucky, Coastal Carolina and Campbell. Karan Mandair and Jonas Schmalbach tied for the single season goals scored lead with five. All five of Mandair's came on penalty kicks including game-winners against Kentucky and Campbell. Michael Statham had four shutouts in goal including the win over Kentucky.

In the 2022 campaign, Jones guided freshman goalkeeper Michael Statham to a strong rookie campaign with five shutouts, including a home clean sheet over nationally-ranked Campbell. Statham earned Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week following a 2-1 ODU win at fourth-ranked Marshall in mid-October.

Following the 2022 season, he was promoted to Recruiting Coordinator.

The 2021 fall season saw goalkeeper Djibril Doumbia record a pair of clean sheets against Loyola (MD) and UAB. During the spring 2021 season Jones helped mentor Doumbia to third-team All C-USA. Doumbia was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week twice and also named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week during the Spring 2021 season.

Jones came to ODU by the way of Tiffin University. In his three years on the staff at Tiffin, Jones helped the Dragons to the 2018 Great Midwest Athletic Conference regular season and conference tournament titles and the 2019 conference tournament title. In 2018, the Tiffin coaching staff was also named the Midwest Region Staff of the Year by a vote of the United Soccer Coaches Association.

Jones, a native of Flintshire, Wales, played four seasons as a starting goalkeeper for the Urbana University men's soccer team. Jones, a two-year captain, earned first-team All-Mountain East Conference honors as a freshman, junior and senior and was named Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. He also was a first-team NSCAA All-Atlantic Region choice in 2015 and 2016, and landed on the second team in 2013.
Growing up in Wales, Jones played in the youth system at Tranmere Rovers FC, an English third-division team, for seven years until the U18 level.  

Jones holds his United Soccer Coaches Advanced National Diploma, U.S Soccer C and D Licenses and F.A Level 2 Certification.

He graduated from Urbana University with a degree in Sports Management in 2016 and a M.B.A in Sports Management and Leadership from Tiffin University in 2019.

Jones and his wife Elizabeth reside in Norfolk with their twin daughters Charlotte Mae and Mary Louise.

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Josh Spencer

Assistant Coach


Old Dominion Head Men’s Soccer Coach Tennant McVea announced on January 17, 2024 the hiring of Josh Spencer as an assistant coach. Spencer joins the Monarchs after serving two years as the head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan.
"My first encounter with Josh was in 2018 when he was a part of our inaugural Lionsbridge FC squad in USL2. Even then we knew Josh was a person of immense character and maturity,” McVea said. “Josh has been the head coach at his alma mater West Virginia Wesleyan for the past two seasons and he has done a magnificent job of rebuilding the program after the unfortunate passing of his friend and mentor Gavin Donaldson.
“I have had the pleasure of working alongside Josh at Lionsbridge FC where he has been an assistant coach for the past two seasons. He is a fantastic coach, very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and has a great presence around players. Josh will be a great resource for our players and a great addition to the Old Dominion community as a whole,” said McVea."

A WVWC men's soccer alum, Spencer was named the head coach of the Bobcats after completing a one-year stint as a volunteer assistant coach under Gavin Donaldson. Spencer was a four-year starter and a three-year captain for Donaldson during his playing career from 2014-2017 and led the Bobcats to a Mountain East Conference Championship in his senior season.

In 2023, the Bobcats had six players named All-Mountain East Conference including the Offensive Player of the Year in Sinasi Emre Deniz. WVWC had two players named first team, three to the second team and one honorable mention. The Bobcats also had two players named to the All-Freshman team as they advanced to the league quarterfinals and finished with an 8-8-3 mark.

In his first year as a coach with the program, Spencer mentored three all-conference players and one all-freshman team player. Spencer assisted with creating practice plans and oversaw game management during the 2021 season as West Virginia Wesleyan went 7-8-4.

Spencer was the assistant coach and camp director of Lionsbridge FC for the 2022 season. Spencer played a key role in coaching the team to their first Chesapeake Division crown in club history. Lionsbridge FC had an undefeated regular season (12-0-2) under Spencer's guidance. Spencer also has experience coaching at the youth level and was an assistant coach of Long Eaton United youth team in Nottingham, England.

Spencer returned to Lionsbridge FC as assistant coach for the 2023 USL2 season and was a member of the coaching staff that guided The Bridge to its most successful season to date. In 2023 Lionsbridge won the Coastal Virginia Cup, the Chesapeake Division Title, The Eastern Conference Championship and ended the season as National Finalists.

The Nottingham, England native began his playing career in academy football for Derby County, Lincoln City and Boston United. After WVWC, Spencer signed with Lionsbridge FC and was the club's first signing for their inaugural season in 2018. Spencer played semi-professionally in Europe between 2018-2021.

"It’s a real privilege to be offered the opportunity to progress professionally with Old Dominion University Men's Soccer,” said Spencer. “The university has a fantastic reputation within college soccer, and I am driven to help push the program toward more success.  I am extremely grateful to Coach McVea and the University for the opportunity and am excited to get to work."

Spencer is married to his wife, Mary, who is a West Virginia Wesleyan women's soccer alum playing from 2014-17.

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Derek Neidlinger

Assistant Coach


A two-year member of the Old Dominion men’s soccer team, Derek Neidlinger returns to serve as a volunteer assistant coach for the 2023 season.

Neidlinger, a native of Napa, California, started at Santa Rosa Junior College where he played two seasons and was a second team All-American in 2019.  Then he transferred to Old Dominion where he played in every game for Alan Dawson in the 2020 and 2021 season and was a two-time Conference USA Academic Honor Roll selection.

He finished his collegiate career at Corban University in 2022 where he helped anchor a backline that allowed the least goals in the NAIA and had the most shutouts in the association.

Neidlinger graduated from ODU in 2022 with a bachelor’s in Sports Management and is finishing his master’s in Business Administration from Corban.

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