Now entering his fifth year at the helm of the Pilots and his sixth year overall as a head coach, Thiago Pinto has led the Bethel College men's soccer program to new heights as the program has gained recognition as one of the top NAIA programs.
In his first three seasons, coach Pinto has led the Pilots to two consecutive trips to the NAIA National Championship tournament and won the Mid-Central College Conference regular season and tournament title undefeated twice. Pinto's coaching record at Bethel is 56-20-3 which gives him one with the winning percentage of .709.
Continuing the Pilots' tradition of being a national power, Pinto has led the Bethel soccer program to Top 25 national rankings in every season and achieved the high mark so far in the 2009 season when the Pilots were ranked No. 8 in the NAIA. Coach Pinto led the team to a history breaking season in his first year at Bethel finishing with an 18-1-1 record. The 2009 team was the first team at Bethel to ever finish a regular season undefeated with a 15-0-1 record. Coach Pinto earned conference coach of the year awards both in 2009 and 2010 and has coached five All-American players during his tenure at Bethel.
As a player, Pinto appeared in four NAIA National Tournaments. The Midfielder played for the Pilots from 2002-2005. A native of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Thiago played in the Brazilian first division for powerhouses Cruzeiro Esporte Clube and Athletico Mineiro.
Off the field, coach Pinto embodies all that Bethel College represents. He is passionate about providing an extraordinary experience to his student athletes and helping them grow on and off the field. He is proud to lead a program that has been nationally ranked for 10 consecutive years in the NAIA's top 25, won 10 Mid-Central College Conference (MCC) championships and appeared in 9 NAIA National Championships in the last 12 years. The Pilots also have had the opportunity to host and play against the U21 Mexican National Team in the spring of 2010.
Coach Pinto believes that the game is a great platform to change lives and make the difference and he has led his teams to do a number of outreach clinics and events locally and internationally. In the last few years, coach Pinto has been involved with the game in many countries across the globe and has taken the Pilots to several international trips (Niger - 2009, South Africa 2010 and Brazil – 2011). Most importantly, coach Pinto strives to build a championship team that glorifies God through excellence in playing, serving and celebrating. Commitment, passion, proper perspective, and honoring God with our gifts will always be our most important keys to success.
Coach Pinto and his wife Kristie reside in South Bend, Ind. with their daughter, Jennifer.