Leza, a member of two conference championship teams at Macalester and recent assistant coach at Clarke, begins his third season as Cornell's head men's soccer coach. In 2010, Leza also was head coach of the Cornell women's program, now headed by Kirsten Russell.
"From my past experiences with Cornell, I've always liked the campus and atmosphere," said Leza, a Muscatine native. "Cornell is a unique place and has academic appeal similar to my experience at Macalester. I wanted to get back to a school with that kind of environment. I see a lot of potential at Cornell and know with their type of student-athletes that we can build a successful program."
Leza began his rebuilding process with 20 underclassmen on the 2010 men's squad that finished 0-17-1. The 1-17 team last season graduated just two seniors.
Leza came to the Hilltop with nine years of competitive soccer coaching experience, including a successful stint assisting the women's and men's teams at Clarke College from 2005-09. Both Crusader teams set or tied single-season school marks for wins during Leza's stay in Dubuque. In 2009, the Clarke women finished second in the Midwest Collegiate Conference with a 5-2-1 mark while the men's squad established a school record for season winning percentage.
Leza coached seven all-conference players and one all-region selection at Clarke. The Crusaders also fielded 31 academic all-conference performers, three NAIA Scholar Athletes and one Academic All-American under Leza's guidance.
"Andres brings a level of dynamic leadership that I am confident will cultivate success in both our women's and men's soccer programs," Cornell Director of Athletics John Cochrane said. "Andres has demonstrated excellence in recruiting, fundraising and skill development during his 10 years as an assistant coach at the college level. Cornell is committed to elevating our soccer programs to a premier level and we will continue to enhance the support for soccer under Andres' leadership in the years to come."
Leza was a three-sport athlete at Macalester (St. Paul, Minn.) College, where he competed in soccer, cross country and track and field. A four-year soccer letterwinner, Leza helped lead the Scots to back-to-back Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships in 1997 and 1998. Macalester advanced to the Elite 8 at the NCAA Division III Championships in Leza's senior season, following a Sweet 16 appearance his junior year.
Leza earned all-conference indoor track and field honors in the 800-meter run in 1999. He was named to the NCAA Division III All-Academic Cross Country Team in 1998, and was also a nominee for the college's Presidential Leadership Award for seniors.
Leza received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Macalester in 1999. He earned a master's degree in business administration from Clarke in May 2009.
Leza was head coach of the Wings Soccer Club - ages 12-18 - in New Hope, Minn., from 2001-05. During that time, he was an assistant track and field coach at Macalester. Leza also was head junior varsity girls soccer coach at Minnetonka (Minn.) High School and evaluator for the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association from 2002-04.
At Muscatine High School, Leza garnered all-conference soccer honors and guided the Muskies to the Iowa State Tournament his senior year.