Neto, a native of Brazil and former collegiate standout at Union College, comes to Shorter after a six-year head coaching tenure at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky.
Neto replaces former Shorter coach Josh Severns, who stepped down earlier this spring.
“I want to firstly thank (Shorter President) Dr. (Don) Dowless and Coach Peterson for the opportunity to serve Shorter University as the head men’s soccer coach,” said Neto.
“From my first step on campus, I felt drawn to the university due to the school’s commitment to excellence both in academics and athletics, the genuine camaraderie of the people and ultimately the mission of the school to transform lives through Christ.”
“Paulo is a strong Christian leader with a great track record in intercollegiate soccer,” said Peterson.
“He is highly thought of throughout both the United States and the world, and we are just ecstatic that someone of his caliber has joined the Shorter athletic team. Our men’s soccer team is in great hands.”
Neto brings eight years of collegiate coaching experience to the Shorter program.
He will take over a team that is coming off an uncharacteristic 7-10-1 campaign in 2011.
He began his coaching career at NCAA Division II Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., as the men and women’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
In 2004, Neto helped lead Lincoln Memorial’s men to a 12-2-1 record and regular season conference championship in addition to a national No. 15 ranking and No. 1 regional ranking.
In 2005, Neto took the head coaching position at Cumberlands and enjoyed immediate success. Neto led the Patriots to a 15-5-2 record in 2006 and a berth in the Mid-South Conference championship match and the Region XI final. The Patriots finished the 2006 season ranked No. 22 in the country – the program’s first-ever national ranking.
In 2008, Cumberlands climbed as high as No. 13 in the country and captured the Mid-South Conference regular season championship. In 2010, the Patriots went 14-3-3 – the three losses were the fewest in program history – and finished the season ranked No. 20.
In his six seasons at Cumberlands, Neto’s clubs compiled a record of 84-30-9.
As a collegiate student-athlete, Neto established himself as one of the top players in the country during his time at Union from 1999-2002.
Neto graduated as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 69 goals, 50 assists and 188 points. He led Union to three straight regular season conference championships and helped Union ascend to a national ranking as high as No. 3. Neto was a four-time first team All-Conference selection and three-time NAIA All-American. He was named the Region XII Player of the Year as a senior in 2002 and was also a two-time Academic All-American in addition to being named Union’s Male Athlete of the Year for the 2002-2003 academic year.
Neto holds a Union of European Football Associations “A” License and a United States Soccer Federation “A” License. He has professional coaching experience with the Baton Rouge Capitals – he also served as general manager in addition to assuming head coaching duties – and played one season of professional soccer with the Cincinnati Kings of the USL in 2005.
Neto serves as a regional staff coach for the Region 2 Olympic Development Program and also serves as a Kentucky ODP head coach.
“I look forward to contributing to the further success of Shorter University, both in the classroom and on the soccer field,” Neto said. “I welcome the challenge of taking SU men’s soccer to a position of prominence within the Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II.”