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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).