A coach who took over a newly launched Southern Oregon University men's soccer program in 2015 and led the Raiders to a conference title two years later was named head of the George Fox University men's soccer program beginning with the 2018-19 season.
George Fox Athletic Director Adam Puckett announced the hiring of Biniam Afenegus on Feb. 20. He arrived after leading Southern Oregon to a 14-7-1 record in 2017 and the program's first appearance in the NAIA Men's Soccer Championships.
"We are very excited that Biniam is joining the George Fox family as our men's soccer coach," Puckett said. "He understands the mission of George Fox athletics and what we are aiming to achieve both on and off the pitch. He will bring leadership and experience here, and I look forward to this next chapter for our men's soccer program."
Afenegus, 40, assembled a roster of true freshmen and junior college transfers in the fall of 2015 and proceeded to post a winning record (10-8) and miss the postseason by just one game. A successful 11-3-3 campaign followed in 2016, but it was 2017 that proved to be the Raiders' breakout season, as SOU won a Cascade Collegiate Conference title with an 11-1-1 mark and advanced to the postseason. Once there, the team dropped a 3-2 thriller to eighth-seeded Georgia Gwinnet College in the opening round of the NAIA playoffs.
Prior to coaching at Southern Oregon, Afenegus spent eight seasons in the same role at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, where he amassed a 123-27-16 record, won one Northwest Athletic Conference championship, and claimed five NWAC South Region titles. He was the NWAC South Coach of the Year five times and the NWAC Coach of the Year twice.
"Biniam has excelled at all levels during his 20-year coaching career and is a perfect fit for George Fox," Puckett said. "He holds academic success and Christ-like character development as a priority and has demonstrated that he knows how to succeed."
As a player at Concordia University in Portland, Afenegus earned NAIA first-team all-region honors in 1998 before receiving a bachelor's degree in physical education. He also obtained a master's degree in education with an emphasis in physical education from Concordia.
Afenegus holds a United States Soccer Federation National "A" license and was a high school coach before taking over at Clark. He also gained coaching experience as the head coach of the Vancouver Victory, a program that competes in the Evergreen Premier League for collegiate and post-collegiate athletes.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to be part of the George Fox community and can't wait to get started," Afenegus said. "George Fox is a special place with strong leadership that has instilled a culture of success, and I can't wait to be a part of that. The school had a rich soccer history and success when it played in the NAIA. My goal is to bring the program back to that level and make them relevant again in conference. The university has excellent academic standards and great athletic facilities, which will be a tremendous help in recruiting players.
"This is a program that will be synonymous with academic achievement and athletic excellence. We will represent the university and athletic department with pride."
Afenegus was born in Eritrea, Africa, and moved with his family to Spokane, Washington, when he was a child. He and his wife, Irene, have three children: Ahmon, Cierra and Elijah.
He takes over a George Fox program that went 5-14-1 in 2017 under head coach Luis Del Rio, who departed the university after six seasons.