Nicholas Deren enters his sixth full season as the head coach of the University of Detroit Mercy men's soccer team in 2015.
Deren was the lead assistant coach for six seasons, the interim head coach for the last half of 2009, and was named to his current position at his alma mater on Dec. 8, 2009. He has coached the Titans to 39 victories overall, including 19 in conference play.
Deren helped the Titans capture the 2012 Horizon League Championship with a 6-1 conference record. It was the first regular season championship for Detroit since 2005 when UDM also had a 6-1 Horizon League record.
He coached the Titans to their second regular-season title in three seasons in 2014. The Titans earned a share of the regular-season crown with a 6-2 conference record. Detroit also won a tournament title during the season, capturing the UNLV Nike Invitational. The squad finished 2014 with a 9-7-4 record.
The 2014 squad was one of the best defensively in program history as the team allowed just 19 goals in 20 games for a single-season program record of 0.89 goals against average. Following the season, freshman Spiro Pliakos was named Horizon League Freshman of the Year, while junior goalkeeper Nathan Steinwascher became the first player in league history to be named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year as well as Goalkeeper of the Year.
In 2012, junior midfielder Adam Bedell, became the first player under coach Deren to earn Horizon League Player of the Year and Horizon League Offensive Player of the Year honor, and he was also selected to All-Conference First Team. He was named to the All-Great Lakes Region second team and took home the College Boot Supporter's Choice Award. Bedell then went on to be drafted and later signed by the Columbus Crew to become the first Titan to be drafted by an MLS franchise. Bedell scored his first professional goal on July 12, 2014 as a member of the Crew against New York.
In the 2012 championship season, senior captain Pat Lepera joined Bedell on the First Team while sophomore midfielder Matt Ybarra and senior defender Matt Nedwicki were each tabbed to All-Conference Second Team. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Nathan Steinwascher and freshman forward Matt Harkema were each selected to the All-Conference Newcomer Team. Following the Horizon League Tournament, both Bedell and Lepera were named to the All-Tournament team.
After the resignation of former head coach Morris Lupenec, Deren took over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2009 season. He guided the Titans to a 4-4 record to end the year. During that stretch the Titans scored 17 goals, and won two of their last four conference games. He guided the 2010 Titans to an overall record of 8-9-2 in his first full season at the helm of the men’s soccer team.
Deren’s coaching style allowed Ya Ya Toure to receive multiple postseason awards in that 2010 campaign. Toure was an All-Conference First Team selection, he made the All-Conference Newcomer Team, and he was voted as the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year. His final accolade was being selected to the All-Great Lakes Region Third Team.
Throughout his tenure on the UDM staff, Deren’s main responsibilities included running training sessions, conditioning, recruiting, match preparation, as well as scheduling and fundraising.
Deren’s first season as an assistant coach was in 2004. The team was very successful during his first two years with the program. The 2004 team tied the school record with 14 wins. They were able to rattle off eight straight wins, another UDM record. The 2005 team was also successful as they ended the year with 12 victories.
Deren has worked with numerous recruiting camps across the state of Michigan. He left the corporate world to follow his passion in soccer, and started coaching club soccer in 2001 with the Vardar Soccer Club. Nearly a year later, Deren created a soccer school and provided training for individuals, small groups, and teams as a camp director.
Deren has attended multiple symposiums, and special topic courses. He worked with the Troy Soccer Club from 2003 to 2006, and he was also on the Olympic Development Program coaching staff for the state of Michigan for four years (2005-09). Deren still works as a director of coaching for the Michigan Rush. He began working with the Rush in 2006.
Deren won a National Championship as the head coach of the 1995 Boys ODP team while also leading guiding the squad to a regional championship.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with young players because I feel like a part of their technical foundation,” Deren said. “I believe that coaches can have a big impact on young players. A positive influence can play a large role in the development that occurs. Good coaching will give players the fundamentals that they need to make the transition to the next level.”
Deren had a successful career as a player. He left Livonia Stevenson High School as the second leading goal scorer in the program’s history. He also finished third in the voting for Mr. Soccer in the state of Michigan as a forward in 1995. Deren’s playing career also includes winning a club national championship with Vardar at the U-18 level.
Deren enrolled at Oakland University after a stellar high school career, but transferred to Detroit after two seasons. He was the leading goal scorer for Oakland during his freshman season with 13 goals. Deren also played for the Detroit Dynamite and the Michigan Madness during this time. The Dynamite and Madness were formerly in the USISL, but now they are recognized in the PDL.
Deren transferred to Detroit in 1997, but suffered an injury that forced him to take a medical redshirt for the 1998 season. He bounced back however and was named as a team captain in 1999. While with Detroit, Deren netted seven goals, while dishing out five assists at the midfield spot.
Deren graduated from UDM in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He holds a USSF "A" License, as well as an Advanced National Diploma from the NSCAA.
Deren and his wife Jeanne (a former UDM assistant track coach) reside in Northville, Mich., and have two daughters, Evelyn and Amelia, and a son Eli. Deren’s hobbies away from soccer include golf and running.