STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State soccer coach Aaron Gordon recently completed his coaching staff with the addition of veteran club and college coach Phil Casella.
Casella joins Gordon and his wife, Ashley, on the Bulldog coaching staff.
The Bayside, N.Y., native spent 2011 and 2012 as head coach of the New York Fury in the Women's Premier Soccer League, the largest women's soccer league in the world.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to join Aaron and Ashley here at Mississippi State. I've known them the last 10 or 11 years through a mutual friend, and they are well-respected in the soccer community," Casella said. "I was thrilled when I got the phone call, and I'm excited to be here working with Aaron and Ashley in helping take Mississippi State to the top of the SEC. I'm also thankful for Scott (Stricklin) and Duncan (McKenzie) for allowing me the opportunity to join the Mississippi State athletic staff."
As a head coach of the Fury, he took a squad consisting of professional players from Women's Professional Soccer and semi-professional leagues to the 2011 East Region semifinals as well as the East-Mid Atlantic Conference regular season title.
While coaching the Fury in the WPSL, Casella also coached the Albertson Fury Soccer Club.
Casella coached the Albertson Fury '91 from 2007-11, guiding the club to numerous championships, including three-straight Eastern New York State Cup titles from 2009-11. His 2010 edition finished the year ranked No. 4 in the nation.
"We are very excited about Phil joining our staff here at Mississippi State," Gordon said. "For years, Phil has been associated with the development of many of the top players in the New York area. His ability as an on-field coach and his eye for talent will be a huge asset to our program.
"As a staff coach with the Albertson Fury, Phil was instrumental to the success of their club," Gordon added. "Phil's connections with club soccer will continue to expand our recruiting network and bring in players that can help us reach our goal of winning championships at Mississippi State."
Casella served as interim head coach of the '92 and '93 Elite Clubs National League squads. Under his guidance, the '93 Fury won the Eastern New York State Cup and went on to finish fifth in the ECNL national championship.
After taking the '92 Fury to the 2010 ECNL national "Flight B" runner-up, the 2011 squad advanced to the Region 1 semifinals before taking runner-up in the Eastern New York State Cup.
Casella's collegiate coaching career consists of assistant coaching stints at Fordham (2006-07) and his alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson (2000-06).
In his lone season at Fordham, he helped lead the Rams to a 14-7 overall record and the finals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.
Casella was a part of Fairleigh Dickinson's move to NCAA Division I in the first of his six seasons at the school. In just the third season, the Knights posted a 7-2-1 Northeast Conference record and advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament.
A year after winning the 2003 ECAC championship, Casella helped guide the Knights to the NEC regular-season title with an unbeaten 6-0-3 record.
During his college coaching tenures, he also worked with the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association's Olympic Development Program. From 1999-2002 he assisted with the U14 and U17 squads.
He took the head coaching reigns of the U14 squad from 2003-05 before managing the U17 squad the 2005-06 campaigns.
Along with the different levels of coaching, Casella also brings different levels of playing experience. He played at Fairleigh Dickinson from 1992-95 before graduating with a degree in communication and advertising.
Casella continued his playing career in 1996 with the North Jersey Imperials of the United States Inter-regional Soccer League, the second division to Major League Soccer in the United States. He helped guide the Imperials to the semifinals of the Sizzling Six National Championship Tournament and the 1996 Northeast Division title.
Casella is a United States Soccer Federation nationally-licensed coach.