Lorenzo Canalis, the winningest coach in Berry women’s soccer history, announced Tuesday his plan to retire on May 31 after 25 years as the head coach of the Vikings women’s soccer program.
“I am honored to have enjoyed 25 years at the helm of the women’s soccer program at such an outstanding institution such as Berry College,” Canalis said. “I want to thank all of those whom I have worked and interacted with, far too many to mention, for having shared their professional talents and friendship over the years. Most importantly, I express my deepest gratitude to my current and past players for their effort, commitment and loyalty to the program. Thank you for allowing me to play a small part in your lives. You have enriched mine in so many wonderful ways.”
Canalis has served as the head coach of the Berry women’s soccer team since 1995, compiling a 322-137-37 record. In Berry’s NCAA Division III era, Canalis has coached 39 All-SAA selections, 130 SAA Academic Honor Roll honorees, a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and led the team to a 2014 Southern Athletic Association regular season championship. He was also named the SAA’s Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2014.
“Lorenzo has contributed enormously to the success of Berry athletics,” Berry Chief of Staff Debbie Heida said. “But his contributions to Berry Athletics go far beyond winning. He has been a mentor and teacher, prioritizing character development as a hallmark of his program for countless Berry soccer players and students. He has been a leader in the department with a zest for life, incredible work ethic and a positive attitude. He will be sorely missed even as we wish him well in his retirement.”
During his NAIA tenure, Canalis won a Georgia Athletic Conference title, six TranSouth Conference titles and five NAIA Regional Championships. He also led Berry to seven NAIA National Tournament appearances. In 1997, the Vikings earned a third-place finish at the NAIA National Tournament.
Canalis holds numerous coaching awards, including Mid-South Region Coach of the Year in 1996 and 1998, NAIA Region XIII and NSCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year in 2004 and six TranSouth Conference Coach of the Year awards (1996-1999 and 2001-2002). In 2008, the last year of NAIA membership, Canalis’ squad reached the round of 16 in the NAIA National Tournament.
Canalis came to Berry after serving as the head women’s soccer coach and director of athletics at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Canalis was the St. Andrews’ men’s coach from 1985-90, and he started the women’s soccer program at the school in 1988, coaching both teams simultaneously until 1990. From 1991-95, he took on duties as the school’s AD, which he held until leaving for Berry College in 1995.
Prior to his stint at St. Andrews, Canalis was the head men’s soccer coach at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Canalis has also been active in promoting and teaching women’s soccer on many levels. In addition to coordinating youth soccer camps on the Berry campus each summer, he was the Technical Director and a coach at the YMCA Arsenal SC in Rome, and was a coach for the U-18 Georgia Olympic Development team and an NAIA Regional Chair for women’s soccer. He is a past president of the NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches Association.
A native of Torino, Italy, Canalis holds an NSCAA Advanced National Coaching diploma, and he earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He earned a master’s degree in sport science and management from the United States Sports Academy, and has taught in the physical education department at Berry.
Lorenzo has been married for 45 years to Janda and has two children: Ian and Amy. He is looking forward to fully embracing his role as “Pops” to his five grandchildren.
A national search to fill the position will begin immediately.