Position: Head Coach
The only coach the City Islanders have ever known, Bill Becher enters the 2017 season with an impressive 124-103-73 career regular season record. His trophy case includes being a finalist in the 2014 USL Championship, the 2011 USL PRO National Division Title, the 2007 USL-2 Championship Trophy, and the 2005 USL-2 Coach of the Year Award.
The City Islanders are coming off of a turbulent 2016 campaign where they finished with a record of 8-15-7 and competing with one of the youngest teams in the league, Becher is looking to build this young squad into a contender.
From day one, Becher’s effective coaching style and a host of connections built over a lifetime in the soccer world helped make the City Islanders a contender. He and his staff have brought a diverse collection of veterans, rookies, local products and capped internationals to Harrisburg. In addition to their league success, the City Islanders have proven themselves capable of beating the big boys: Harrisburg has beaten Major League Soccer teams in U.S. Open Cup competition five times: 1-0 over D.C. United in 2007, 2-1 over New England in 2009, and 1-0 over New York in 2010, and two wins in 2012 over New England in P.K.’s and 3-1 over New York.
The club’s high water mark remains the 2007 Championship side, a group that perfectly embodied Becher’s philosophies: they were consistent, opportunistic, and industrious, even if they were never the most talented group. Their title run was fueled by perhaps the league’s best defense, a unit that allowed only 15 goals in 20 regular season games. Defense and discipline were the keys in the postseason as well – the team went 195 postseason minutes before surrendering a goal in the Championship match. Becher’s tireless squad completed a grueling 240-minute postseason marathon by topping Richmond in penalty kicks.
Becher also led the team to an extremely successful season in 2011, as the Islanders defeated Rochester 2-1 earning them the National Division title, before falling to Orlando in penalty kicks in the USL PRO Championship.
The Islanders have sent several players to the MLS under Becher’s leadership, including Bilal Duckett (New England Revolution) from last the 2012 squad. Sheanon Williams, who played under Becher in 2010, is also now with the Union and also a part of Team USA’s Olympic Qualifying roster. Other Islanders include: Tiyi Shipalane (D.C. United ), J.T. Noone (Philadelphia Union), Yann Ekra (Philadelphia Union) Morgan Langley (Philadelphia Union), Tyler Rutherven (NY Red Bulls), Jose Angulo (New York Red Bulls), Andrew Ribiero (Chivas USA) and Chase Harrison (Philadelphia Union).
Becher brought decades of playing experience to his first pro head-coaching job. After winning a national title with Sagamon State University in 1986, the St. Louis native enjoyed an acclaimed and lengthy professional career in the MISL (formerly the AISA and NPSL), scoring 280 goals and assisting on 254 others in 458 games. Becher spent the bulk of his indoor years with the Harrisburg Heat, with whom he notched 227 goals and 209 assists in 315 games from 1991 to 19,99 and served as the team’s captain from 1997 to 1999. Becher also played indoors with the Hershey Impact, Ft. Wayne Flames, New York Kick, and St. Louis Ambush of the MISL and Arizona Sandsharks of the CISL, and outdoors with the Colorado Foxes of the APSL.
Since 1996, Becher has served as Coaching Director for the Lower Dauphin Soccer Association. He and wife Dawn reside in Hummelstown with sons Jackson and Ryan.