SleterFC Interviews: Stony Brook WSOC Head Coach Tobias Bischof

Bischof, Stony Brook
Tobias Bischol

Since coming to the United States from Germany 17 years ago, Tobias Bischof has become a fixture in the Long Island soccer community.

Over the years he has trained and coached youth players in clubs such as Massapequa, East Meadow, East Islip and Glen Cove. He also spent the past eight years as Simon Riddiough’s right-hand man with Hofstra’s women’s soccer team.

Now, Bischof is about to embark on his next journey as the new head coach of Stony Brook’s women’s soccer team. In January, he was named head coach replacing Brendan Faherty who took the head coaching job for the women’s soccer team at Yale University.

In an interview with SleterFC.com, Bischof discussed his new job, his time at Hofstra and his nearly two decades living on Long Island.

SLETERFC.com: What went through your mind when you heard the Stony Brook job was available?
TOBIAS BISCHOF: My fiancée, Jenna, and I are getting married in July and we wanted to stay on Long Island. For me, there were only two jobs I could see myself excelling at — Hofstra and Stony Brook. When the Stony Brook job became open I spoke with Simon and decided within a day that this is what I had to do.

SFC.com: What about the head coaching opportunity at Stony Brook did you find attractive?
TB: From an academic standpoint, Stony Brook is off the charts. Many consider the university to be just a step below the Ivy League. On the athletics side, it’s a super exciting program that is getting better and better. From the first moment I stepped on campus, I could feel the positive energy. I knew that this is where I wanted to be.

SFC.com: Have you had an opportunity to meet your players?
TB: We have had a couple of training sessions and just after I got the job we had our first meeting. I wanted them to know who I am and I wanted to get to know them and give them a chance to ask some questions.

SFC.com: When you look back at your time at Hofstra working for Simon Riddiough, what did you learn from him and how did that help you develop as a coach?
TB: Simon is one of the best coaches in college women’s soccer and a tremendous mentor. He got me involved from my first day at Hofstra in 2011. From the beginning, he made sure I was part of all aspects of the program. We made decisions together and he taught me the ins and outs of college athletics. I owe Simon a lot.

SFC.com: What memories are top of mind for you from your days at Hofstra?
TB: The relationships that I built over my eight years at Hofstra are what stand out. I met some tremendous people and Hofstra will always have a big place in my heart. On the field, I remember 2015 when I thought we had the best team in the CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) but we lost to James Madison in the semi-finals. We felt terrible but then found out a couple days later that we got an at-large bid to the (NCAA) tournament. We played Georgetown and beat them to advance to the second round. The other was our win over Boston College in the first round of the tournament this past season. It was a tremendous effort by everyone and the players played great that day.

SFC.com: The college soccer teams on Long Island, including Stony Brook, have a unique mix of players from the Island and Europe. Do you think that will be something you will continue with your recruiting efforts?
TB: I think so. It’s important to keep the connection with Long Island, which continues to be a hotbed for soccer. And while I know we are competing with Hofstra and St. John’s for local players we want to try to keep the best kids at home. But we also want to be open to attracting players from across the U.S. and from Europe. Being close to New York City is a big attraction to getting foreign players to our program.

SFC.com: What led you to move from Germany to Long Island?
TB: That was really by chance. I played in Germany and went to school there and earned my Master’s Degree. But before starting my work life, I wanted to add proper English to my repertoire. I was able to get a job coaching at Global Soccer and now 17 years later I have a great position as the head women’s soccer coach at Stony Brook.

SFC.com: Talk about your involvement in youth soccer during your time on Long Island.
TB: Over the past 17 years I have coached mostly girls teams, but have worked with a few boys teams as well. Right now I coach two girls ECNL teams in East Meadow. Ironically, the most success I had was with a boys team, Massapequa Arsenal. I started coaching them at the U-15 level and in our final season, we won the McGuire Cup as the national champion in the boys U-19 division at the U.S. Youth Soccer Nationals. I have also won a number of state and regional titles on the girls side as well.

SFC.com: How has the game evolved at the youth level here on Long Island?
TB: There is definitely more professionalism within youth soccer today. When I started I was a trainer and basically trained the team during the week but did not have a role on the weekends during the games. That has changed over time. But I am also still a fan of having parents involved in the game at the youth level. However, their role has evolved into more of an administrative and supportive role. Now, those with soccer minds are making decisions on the field.