Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Cleophat brings global soccer experience to Suffolk

Ernst Cleophat

Article By: Matt West

Ernst Cleophat loves the game of soccer. So much so that he not only coaches it at a high level, but helps the underprivileged enjoy it as well.

Having developed skills for the game at a young age, Cleophat excelled not only as a youngster, but throughout his high school and college days as well. After graduating from Boston English High School, he attended Suffolk University, where he scored an astounding 108 goals, a record for the school’s program that still stands today.

Now the women’s soccer coach here at Suffolk, Cleophat spearheads a young soccer program that he hopes will strive for success for years to come. In 2005 and 2006, the women’s soccer team was a club sport. In 2007, the team played its first games as a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, which is something Cleophat has always longed for.

“It’s because I love challenges,” explained Cleophat. “As a former Suffolk student athlete, I do feel that I owe it to the school. You can go somewhere and take over something. To start something from scratch and make it a success is what I wanted to do.”

When it comes to the game of soccer, Cleophat has had an inordinate amount of success, both as a player and coach. However, when speaking with him, he was unequivocal in his praise for others and seems to go out of his way to help those who need it.

“You cannot become a successful coach unless you have good players,” said Cleophat.
In addition to his coaching and playing days, Cleophat made it a point to give as much help as he could to individuals who want to play the game of soccer, but may not have the equipment and resources to do so.

To help give back to those people who want to play this wonderful game, he founded the Ernst Cleophat International Soccer Academy, which is a non-profit organization for underprivileged children. Through the organization, he collects soccer equipment and distributes it to various organizations in Haiti, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Jamaica and Brazil.

“When something is a big part of your life, especially when you do what you love to do, helping others become better players, it means a lot,” said Cleophat. “I coach for the love of the game and the enjoyment of teaching and interacting with my players.”

Athletic Director Jim Nelson, who has known Cleophat for years, was more than happy to shed some light on Cleophat’s impact on both this school and on everyone with whom he comes into contact.

“His dedication to his alma mater is easily recognizable by the fact that for the past five years, two as a club program and these past three years as a varsity, that he has traveled up from Augusta, Georgia — his home — to dedicate himself to our women’s soccer program,” explained Nelson. “He has also been involved, in addition to his academy, with the Shriner Burn hospitals to raise funds.”

Nelson also explained that Cleophat has taken multiple trips to Haiti with family members and friends to bring supplies to areas of his native land devastated by hurricanes.

Cleophat, who is versed in seven different languages, has done great philanthropic work while continuing to teach the game he loves. It seems his impact on those around him is difficult to quantify, but his message is clear.

As Cleophat himself explained in a recent email he sent to his players: “to succeed is not to pile up accomplishment after accomplishment, rather to be able to pick yourself up when you fall and as many times as you fall.”

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Cleophat brings global soccer experience to Suffolk