Coaching Staff

Ross Liberati
Director of Philly Soccer Camps

Ross Liberati 
was named head coach of the Widener men's soccer team on July 16, 2019. He brings nearly a decade of collegiate coaching experience including work at the Division I level to the Pride.

“We are very excited to bring Ross on board as our men’s soccer coach,” said Shafer. “His work and accomplishments at multiple levels in Division I and III, recruiting success, and leadership training related to the student-athlete experience helped him to stand among a strong field of candidates as someone who can help move our program forward, on and off the field.”

Most recently, Liberati spent three seasons as the top assistant at Bucknell where he was responsible for scouting, recruiting, and film sessions. The Bison posted 20 wins during his time, qualifying for the Patriot League Tournament twice, advancing to the semifinals in 2016. While at Bucknell, Liberati helped mentor three All-Region and seven All-Conference performers, also seeing seven student-athletes garner Patriot League All-Academic Team honors.

Prior to Bucknell, Liberati worked at Washington & Lee University where he helped guide the 2015 Generals to the only undefeated regular season in ODAC history, the school’s first conference championship, and W&L’s first berth in the NCAA tournament in 15 seasons. Overall, Washington & Lee posted a 37-12-9 record during his tenure. With the Generals, Liberati was primarily responsible for the defense, with four of his backs and goalkeepers earning All-Region accolades as Washington & Lee held opponents to 0.80 goals per game during the 58-match span.

Liberati opened his coaching career at Frostburg State where he led film sessions, created scouting reports, and was responsible for the academic advising and study hall efforts of the Bears.

On the national level, Liberati was selected for the United Soccer Coaches Top 30 Under 30 Award. He holds USSF Class, D, E, and F licenses, and earned his National Diploma, Advanced National Diploma, and Premier Diploma with highest distinction.

As a player, Liberati was a two-time All-Region honoree, leading Bucknell to Patriot League Championships in 2009 and 2010.

The Warwick, Md. native earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Bucknell in 2011 and his MBA from Frostburg State in 2013.

Brandon Kates
Assistant Director of Men's Soccer

Brandon Kates enters his first year as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Pride.

Kates comes to Widener with six years of collegiate coaching experience, including stints at Lycoming College, Susquehanna University, and most recently, Lafayette College. As an assistant at Lafayette, Kates led recruiting efforts for the Leopards, attending all-star games and travel team tournaments. His primary focus on the pitch was defense and goalkeeping, preparing practice plans for both positions. He was also responsible for breaking down film to build scouting reports and coached three All-Patriot league selections during his tenure.

Before making the jump to Division I, Kates helped guide the Susquehanna University River Hawks to two consecutive Landmark Conference semifinal matchups in 2015 and 2016 as an assistant, turning around a program that had won zero conference games in the year prior to his arrival.

As an assistant at Lycoming, Kates coached the team to two conference title appearances, winning the program’s first MAC Commonwealth Championship and reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2013.

Kates played his college ball at Susquehanna, racking up impressive accolades along the way. He was First Team All-Landmark in 2010 and 2012. He also received Third Team All-American honors in 2012 and was named to the All-Landmark Decade Team in 2016.

The Cherry Hill, N.J. native earned his B.S. in Business Administration in 2013.

Fran Schmutz
Assistant Director of Women's Soccer

Fran Schmutz is in his first season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Widener women's soccer program..
“I’m very excited to add another highly knowledgeable and respected coach to our staff,” said Blank. “Fran is going to make a big impact on the field with the technical development of our players and also in taking our recruiting to the next level.”
Most recently, Schmutz has worked as an assistant women’s soccer coach at Mount Aloysius College, specializing in recruiting. He helped guide the Mounties to a 14-3-2 record last year and a berth in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference title match. Schmutz has also spent time as the Director of Youth Development for Deptford Premier FC and SDS.
As a player, he appeared in 49 matches, starting 46, during three seasons at Albright on the back line. He posted five assists in his career and found the back of the net once, against Stevenson on October 20, 2012.
Schmutz is a native of Cherry Hill, N.J.