From the World Cup to the Olympics, Phil Wheddon has enjoyed success at soccer’s most prestigious events. He helped guide the United States to consecutive gold medals, including the 2008 crown in Beijing. Wheddon brought a wealth of experience at the collegiate, professional and international levels to Syracuse when he became the third head coach in the program’s history in the spring of 2008.
Orange Debut After helping the U.S. team claim its second consecutive Olympic gold medal, Wheddon made his debut on the Syracuse sidelines in the Orange’s contest against William & Mary. In his first season at the
helm, Wheddon concentrated on creating a positive learning environment, both on and off the field, for the players. In addition, he installed a new system, which stressed maintaining possession. His methods are proving to be effective.
In 2008, Syracuse won five games at the SU Soccer Stadium, its most home victories since the 2004 season. The Orange put together a string of more than 300 minutes without allowing a goal, which included four straight shutouts. It marked the first time Syracuse shut out four consecutive opponents since the 1996 season, the program’s inaugural campaign.
Syracuse made great strides in 2009. Wheddon guided the Orange to its longest winning streak since 2004. In addition, Syracuse went unbeaten for five straight games for the first time since 2005. A year later, the Orange recorded its best start in BIG EAST Conference play.
The 2011 squad won seven games and registered six BIG EAST victories, the most since 1998 and the second-highest total in school history. Syracuse qualified for the BIG EAST Tournament for the first time since 2005 where it lost to Georgetown in the quarterfinals.
In 2012, Syracuse posted nine wins, which was its highest total since 2003. The Orange qualified for the BIG EAST tournament for the second consecutive season, marking the first time SU has appeared in postseason
play in back-to-back years since 1999 and 2000.
Under Wheddon’s tutelage, five members of the Orange have earned All-BIG EAST honors. Brittany Anghel became the first member of the program to earn a conference player of the year award after being named the league's Goalkeeper of the Year. She was also voted to the All-BIG EAST First Team, while Alyscha Mottershead earned second-team accolades. In addition, Jackie Firenze was named to the league's All-Rookie team.
The Orange has also excelled in the classroom. Syracuse had six selections to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District I team, including three last season, and 82 BIG EAST All-Academic Team honorees during
the past five seasons.
Wheddon has worked with U.S. National Teams since 2002 when he joined the women’s coaching staff as
the assistant coach/goalkeeper coach. He helped lead the team to a third-place finish in the 2003 World Cup, and the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
In 2005, Wheddon became an assistant coach and goalkeeper coach with the U.S. Men’s National Team, which won the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup and competed in the 2006 World Cup. In 2007, he returned to his position with the women’s national team and helped the squad to a third-place finish in the 2007 World Cup. Wheddon is the only coach to serve on the staffs of both the men’s and women’s national team. Wheddon and the U.S. women again claimed the Olympic gold medal in Beijing in 2008, defeating Brazil, 1-0, in the final. Under his tutelage, goalkeeper Hope Solo, who played every minute of every game, posted a goals-against average of less than a goal per game. In six games, Solo recorded three shutouts, including the overtime win against Brazil in the gold-medal game.
His responsibilities with the national team included video analysis, international scouting, fitness training, game-day operations, team preparation and player development and evaluation. Wheddon has trained some of the best goalkeepers in the world, including Solo, Brianna Scurry, the starting goalkeeper on the 2004 U.S.
National Team’s gold-medal winning team, Tim Howard, a member of the 2005 U.S. World Cup qualifying squad, and Kasey Keller, the USA’s all-time leader in wins, World Cup qualifying shutouts and appearances.