In his first season at JU, Copham led the Dolphins to a 9-9-2 overall record and a 6-4 mark in A-Sun play for a fourth place finish - the highest finish since 2002.
After a slow start, JU got a key 1-0 win over regular season champion Mercer and had three consecutive shutout victories from Oct. 12-24. The Dolphins also downed A-Sun and cross-town rival North Florida, 1-0, in the regular season finale on Oct. 30. JU finished the schedule winning four of its last five matches, which was their best streak since the 1998 season.
The Dolphins opened the A-Sun Tournament by advancing past ETSU, 5-4, in penalty kicks to reach the second round. The Bears got revenge from their regular-season loss with a 2-0 victory in the semifinals to end JU’s season.
Senior Keri Zwikker led the Dolphins in scoring for the fourth consecutive season en route to earning first team all-conference accolades, while newcomer Jessica Hurtado posted three goals and five assists to be named to the all-freshman team. Hurtado also had the decisive penalty kick to advance JU past ETSU in the A-Sun Tournament, which earned her all-tournament accolades.
Copham was also responsible for the emergence of sophomore forward Jelena Vrcelj and freshman goalie Alexa Rooney. Vrcelj tied first on the team in goals with nine, including scoring seven of those in A-Sun play. Rooney recorded 104 saves and seven shutout wins in her first season between the nets for JU.
The Dolphins performed just as well in the classroom, recording 11 A-Sun All-Academic honors. Seven players from the all-academic lists also received Dean’s List accolades, while the three remaining players were named to the President’s Honor Roll (4.0 GPA). Zwikker, one of the seven Dean’s List’s honorees, earned third team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District honors to round out the JU accolades in the classroom.
Prior to JU, Copham served as an assistant coach at Samford University for eight years, including the final six as the top assistant under head coach Todd Yelton. His duties included on-field coaching, heading up the recruiting efforts and overseeing Samford’s annual youth camps.
While with the Bulldogs, Copham helped lead the squad to four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference regular-season championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the second round in 2005.
In 2007, the Bulldogs posted a 15-5-1 overall record and an 8-1 mark in the OVC en route to earning a 2007 NCAA Tournament bid despite losing six players to season-ending injuries. The Bulldogs nearly pulled off an upset in the first round against SEC power LSU, but eventually fell in double overtime, 1-0.
Samford also set a new school record in goals with 43, breaking the previous mark of 38 set in 2000 during Copham’s first season, and had eight players earn All-OVC team accolades.
As recruiting coordinator, Copham was instrumental in the Bulldogs’ landing five consecutive top-20 classes in the South region according to Soccer Buzz magazine. Four of the last five classes were ranked nationally, including the 2007 class that was 68th in the country.
Samford’s 2007 senior class, recruited in 2002, left as the winningest group in school history with a 51-20-9 overall record, including three OVC regular-season titles, an OVC Tournament Championship and two NCAA tournament appearances.
Academically, Samford also excelled in the classroom under Copham. In 2006, the Bulldogs had 18 players named to the OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and 16 players earned the honor in 2005.
As a player, Copham competed three years for top-25 ranked UAB and took home the Coaches’ Award in 1998. Following his athletic eligibility at UAB, Copham was on staff for the Blazers’ run to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1999. He was also a success in the classroom by earning numerous academic awards, including being named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll several times.
Copham continued his playing career with the Birmingham semi-professional soccer team, the Alabama Saints. Over the years, Copham also has coached the Vestavia Hills Soccer Club in the Birmingham area.
Along with his collegiate coaching duties, Copham was on the Alabama Olympic Development Program staff from 2000-08 and now works on the Florida ODP staff. He has earned his USSF “A” license, along with the NSCAA Goalkeeper 1 license.
Copham, who was born in Seminole, Fla., graduated from UAB with a degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1999 and completed his masters in civil engineering in 2004.