The College of Staten Island has announced the hiring of two coaches who will fill vacancies beginning this fall. Armen Simoniants, who has guided multiple soccer programs both domestically and internationally was named the head coach of men’s soccer, while former NCAA Division I cross-country and track and field star Jon Lewis Biles will take over duties for both the men’s and women’s cross-country programs.
Simoniants, whose last appointment was as an assistant coach with The City College of New York in 2007, doubles as a coach and instructor with the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association and United States Amateur Soccer Federation, teaching theory and practices of soccer, offering lessons to coaches, and observing youth academies. He earned his Master’s degree in Physical Education at the Moscow State Sports Academy in Russia, in 1990.
In 2006, Simoniants was overseas, coaching FC Olympia in the Republic of Moldova, competing for a premier league championship with the pro organization. There, he succeeded in taking a handful of former NCAA stars from the United States to excel on foreign soil. Several of his former athletes have earned promotions to professional premier leagues, with others are now coaching in the United States.
In addition to his endeavors at FC Olympia, Simoniants, who possesses a United States Soccer Federation “A” Professional Coaching License, was the head coach of the New York Metrostars’ Reserve Team in 2002-2003. His coaching career also includes stops as an assistant coach with Drew University and a pair of head coaching stints at Pope John XXIII and Morris Knolls High Schools. His head coaching appointment at CSI is his first head coaching position in the NCAA ranks.
Preaching the value of strong academics before play on the field, Simoniants believes that hard work in the classroom translates to success on the field, using education as a vehicle to athletics.
“Many athletes don’t reach their prime athletically until their mid-20s,” Simoniants stated. “Therefore, I always tell my players to finish their studies, get their degrees, and then concentrate on playing at a higher level in soccer. Our goal is for student-athletes to be armed with a quality education and to prepare them physically for extended play outside of college.”
Simoniants is taking over a CSI Dolphins squad that finished as the CUNYAC Runner-Up in 2007, but is ten years removed from a conference championship.
Also making his collegiate head coaching debut is Jon Lewis Biles, taking over a men’s and women’s cross-country program at CSI that is still in its relative infancy.
Last year, Biles spent the fall season as a volunteer assistant coach with Brooklyn College, assisting the program with all facets of cross-country operations. His prior coaching endeavors also featured a stop as an assistant coach at Lehman College, in 2005.
Prior to his coaching experience, Biles enjoyed a stellar playing career at Montana State University, earning NCAA All-America honors in the 5,000-meter track and field event. He finished his career as an indoor Big Sky Conference Champion in both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events.
Before excelling at MSU, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, Biles spent a pair of years at the College of Southern Idaho, where he excelled as a track and field academic and athletic All-American.
A certified strength and conditioning specialist, Biles has a USATF Level 1 license and manages a Super Runner’s Shop in Manhattan. There, he specializes in runner’s gait analysis, and he created a training program for heart rate monitors that are utilized at specialty runner’s shops and clinics.
“I’m excited to be a part of the growing program at the College of Staten Island,” Biles said. “I believe we can be competitive while continuing to build our program with each year.”
Competing as a varsity program for the first time, the women’s program finished third overall in the CUNY Athletic Conference Championship in 2007. The men’s program will become varsity this season after registering as a club team in 2007.