Our Staff

Lee Squires

Head Coach


Lee Squires was named head coach of the Georgia Southern men's soccer team in December 2022. Squires comes to Statesboro from the Greenwood, South Carolina-based school, where he compiled a 100-27-19 record over an eight-year span that included three undefeated regular seasons.
In his first season coaching the Blue and White, Squires led the Eagles to its first Sun Belt Conference victory since 2019 with a 2-1 final against Old Dominion on Oct. 22. In addition, Squires guided the Eagles through a grueling schedule which included a stretch of four games where the Eagles played the top two teams in the nation three times. In that stretch, the Eagles earned its second draw against a nationally-ranked program, tying second-ranked West Virginia in Morgantown. 

Squires' career at Lander saw him take the program to great heights, including winning several Peach Belt Conference regular season championships (2016, 2017, 2020 and 2022), PBC Tournament Championships in 2017 and 2022, and a Southeast Region title in 2018.
Players Squires coached earned 47 all-conference honors, 24 All-PBC Tournament accolades with two MVP designations, 17 all-region nods, three All-American distinctions, and three Scholar All-American awards. Lander would finish in the top 25 in three seasons, including a No. 5 final ranking in 2018 and 2020.

While at Lander, Squires was named the first head coach for Greenville FC, where he compiled a 9-9-7 record in two seasons. Twelve of his players from GVFC would go on to sign professional contracts, including a player who was drafted into the MLS.
Before Lander, Squires was the head coach of Lees-McRae College, where he went 40-29-7 in four seasons. L-MC participated in the 2011 Division II NCAA Tournament, Squires' first season, after winning the Conference Carolinas West Division and finishing as runner-up in the conference tournament.
Since 2011, Squires has also served as the assistant coach for the North Carolina Olympic Development Program and was the head coach for the 2011 HSA Force '98 in Premier UK Soccer.
Squires, a native of Sheffield, England, played collegiate soccer at Lees-McRae, where he was a three-year captain and is still the program's all-time leading scorer with 67 goals and 149 points in his four seasons. As a player, L-MC won the Conference Carolinas regular season championship every season and the conference tournament in three of his four seasons there. The team appeared in four NCAA tournaments and finished as national runner-up in the 2009 Division II NCAA Tournament.
The Conference Carolinas Player of the Year in 2008 and 2010, Squires was an NSCAA All-American in 2007 and 2008, and a Daktronics All-American in 2007, 2008 and 2010. He was also named the conference tournament MVP in 2007 and was selected to the conference all-tournament team in 2008 and 2010. He earned Academic All-Conference honors in 2011 and 2012.
He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration and was a member of the Sigma Beta Delta Business Honors Society. Squires received a Master's degree in sport administration from Arkansas State University.
He played for the United Soccer League's Premier Development League, representing the Ocean City Nor'eaters in 2008 and the SC United Bantams in 2012.

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James Smith

Associate Head Coach


James Smith enters his first year as an assistant coach for the Eagles men's soccer program in 2023. Smith was hired as an assistant coach for the Georgia Southern men's soccer team in January of 2023.

Smith arrives from Lander University, where he was Squires’ assistant coach for the previous season. In 2022, Smith helped lead the Bearcats to a Peach Belt Conference tournament championship and a NCAA Division II Tournament appearance. The Bearcats finished with a 12-3-6 overall record and went 8-1-3 in PBC play.
Prior to his second stint at Lander, Smith was part of the creation of Carolina Velocity FC, a youth soccer organization based out of Raleigh, N.C. Smith was responsible for player development while with the organization. During this time, Smith was a part of Greenville FC from 2018-2019, where he was coached by Squires.
In 2017, Smith was hired by Lander for his first stint with the Bearcats. Smith helped the squad achieve a 13-4-3 record, including an undefeated mark in PBC play at 6-0-1. Lander would win the PBC Tournament and make a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament before falling 3-2 in double-overtime to Young Harris.
Prior to 2017, Smith served as a graduate assistant at ETSU, where he earned his masters in Kinesiology and Sports Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology and Performance. Smith was a two-year GA with the Buccaneers after playing his final year of eligibility at ETSU in 2015.
Smith scored seven goals with five assists for a total of 19 points at ETSU, earning First Team All-SoCon honors and earned SoCon Player of the Month in September 2015 after scoring four goals and a pair of assists. Smith started and played in all 19 matches for ETSU, which including upset wins over #15 Kentucky and UNCG in the SoCon Tournament.

A four-year starter for Lander head coach Lee Squires at Lees-McRae from 2011-14, Smith started 60 matches and tallied 53 career points with 17 goals and 19 assists. He earned All-Conference, All-Region, and First Team Academic All-American honors at Lees-McRae.

Smith also spent three seasons in the Premier Developmental League, playing for the Carolina Dynamo from 2013-14 and GPS Portland Phoenix in 2015.

Smith earned a bachelor's in sports science from Lees-McRae in 2014.

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Clayton Zelin

Assistant Coach


Clayton Zelin returned to Statesboro in January 2024 to take over the assistant coach postition for the Georgia Southern men's soccer team.

Zelin played for Georgia Southern in 2005, where he was a captain on the team , an All-Tournament team selection, and one of the few players to move on to the professional ranks, playing in the MASL (Colorado and Denver), and MLS Reserves (Colorado), and the USL Championship (Phoenix). Zelin has also helped multiple players earn All-Conference, All-American, and professional honors, including coaching a player at Denver that would go on to be named an MLS Rookie of the Year.

"I am honored to come back to Georgia Southern University, it is a place that has given my family and I so much," said Zelin. "I was fortunate enough to play with some great players at Georgia Southern and make lifelong friendships. Georgia Southern gave me the platform to earn my degree and play beyond college. I am excited to give back to an institution that means so much to me. I want to thank Coach Squires and his staff for a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am looking forward to contributing to the foundation that has been built by Georgia Southern University and its mens soccer program. In addition, I am eager to compete in the outstanding Sun Belt Conference."

Prior to this, Zelin coached at the University of North Florida. While with the Ospreys, the team earned picked up a Top 25 road victory, posted the top goals-against average in the ASUN in back-to-back seasons and saw Cormac Begley and Jovoney Brown earn ASUN All-Conference second team honors in spring 2021.

He also assisted in helping Joaquin Acuña earn ASUN All-Freshman honors after he led the team with five goals in fall 2021, followed with helping LJ Estes earn ASUN First Team All-Conference and All-Academic honors in 2022.

In his first year with UNF, Zelin helped North Florida to its first ASUN semifinal appearance since 2015. One of the ASUN's top defensive teams, the Ospreys surrendered a league-low five goals in conference play. Zelin helped UNF to a win against a top-50 opponent and more shutouts than 2017 & 2018 combined.

Before arriving in Jacksonville, Zelin's talents helped Denver earn its first ever No. 1 ranking in the Top Drawer Soccer Top 25. While with the Pioneers, Zelin saw the team make its eighth NCAA tournament appearance and win two Summit League regular season titles under the guidance of head coach Jamie Franks.

While with the Pioneers, Zelin oversaw the development of more than 10 Summit League All-Conference selections, four all-region honorees and an all-American.  In 2017, he was part of the Summit League Staff of the Year and propelled Denver to a No. 3 national ranking.
While on the field his impact was felt, Zelin also assisted off the field as well as Denver had a CoSIDA Academic All-American, a Senior CLASS award winner and the top GPA in Division I men's soccer in 2018.

Prior to his time with Denver, Zelin was a coach with Real Colorado, Real Salt Lake (AZ) and with 2017 National Champion Phoenix Rising FC, where he won league, state, regional and national championships.
Zelin has a proven record of development, including players that have gone on to US national training centers, regional teams, collegiate programs and professional organizations. He currently holds his NSCAA Premier and UEFA B coaching license.

Zelin has a proven record of development with his previous clubs, including players that have gone on to receive invites to the United States national training center and regional teams. His former players have also received collegiate scholarships and opportunities to play at the professional level.
During his playing days, he played NCAA Division I soccer at Georgia Southern, where he was captain and an all-tournament team selection. Following his college career, Zelin played in the MLS Reserves (Colorado Rapids), PDL (New Orleans, Salt Lake & Colorado Foxes) and MASL (Colorado Lightning and Denver Dynamite) before ending his career in USL (Phoenix).

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