Montgomery Academy athletic director Gary Nelson said it took “about three minutes” to decide that Gabriel De Queiroz was the right person to lead the Eagles’ boys soccer program.

Queiroz, a former soccer player and assistant men’s soccer coach at Faulkner University, has been coaching club soccer in the Capital City.

“We had interviewed a bunch of folks,” Nelson said. “We ended up going the community coach route for boys’ soccer. I made some calls to people around Montgomery and started gathering names. The name I kept hearing was Gabi. Within about three minutes, I was thinking this is a no-brainer, I’ve got to hire this guy. We’re super excited to have him.”

Queiroz will replace Jonathan Trinh, who came from Huntsville to coach the Eagles in 2018 and 2019. MA advanced to the 4A-5A semifinals this past season before losing to Briarwood Christian on penalty kicks, surviving the move up from 1A-3A after being elevated in classification by the Competitive Balance Factor. Trinh moved to Mobile to attend the University of South Alabama.

“He had come to me a while back and asked me to write some letters of recommendation for medical school,” Nelson said. “It had been a dream of his that he wanted to pursue.”

While Nelson wanted to hire a coach who could teach at the school, he pointed out the school has hired several notable coaches who were not employed as teachers at the school, including football assistant Steve Holloway, girls’ basketball coach Barry Fencher and girls’ soccer coach Carter Tuck.

Holloway is noted for his work as head football coach and head girls basketball coach at Sidney Lanier High in the past, while Fencher coached the basketball team to the 3A finals this past season. Tuck’s first head coaching job is at Montgomery Academy, where she has won state championships both years.

A native of Salvador, Brazil, Queiroz was a two-year letterman as a midfielder on the Faulkner University men’s soccer team after two years playing in junior college. He will continue his coaching duties at Faulkner, where he has spent five years as an assistant with men’s soccer after starting his career as a student assistant in 2015. He spent the next spring as the assistant at Alabama Christian Academy before returning to Faulkner. He is also well known for his work on the club soccer level.

In addition to hiring Queiroz, Nelson also announced the hiring of cross country coach Chris Colvin and his assistant, Michael Floyd. Colvin has spent the past several years in a similar capacity at LAMP, coaching the Golden Tigers to the school’s first state title in 2016 in boys’ cross country and finishing third this past season.

“I think the greatest benefit is having Chris and being able to partner him with Michael Floyd, who’s going to return in an assistant coach capacity,” Nelson said. “So now we have two coaches who are here fulltime with our kids. I charged Chris with his primary focus to be on building relationships.”

Montgomery Academy won boys’ cross country state championships in 2013 and 2014 and girls’ titles in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, but has fallen behind some of their rivals in recent years.

“You’re kind of looking at a golden era of girls’ distance running in the state the past couple of years and all of that happened to be focused around Montgomery with Amaris (Tyynismaa of Catholic), the (Presley) Miles girl (at St. James) and (Catholic’s Isabelle) Cochran,” Nelson said. “You’ve seen a rise in the competitive nature, plus we moved up to 4A just as we lost some kids to graduation. We’ve had some talented kids in the program, we just haven’t had enough of them.”