Paul Hunter

After his professional playing career was over, a few friends convinced Paul, Branford was the right place to settle and raise a family. The Branford Soccer community was the beneficiary. Hunter first started coaching in Branford in 1992 for the Branford Soccer Club, primarily the Under-14 Division. In 2000, Hunter was named the club’s Director of Coaching. In 2009, Hunter became the head boys soccer coach at Branford High. The Hornets have reached the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament seven times since, including making their one and only appearance in an SCC tournament final in 2012. Hunter’s record at Branford headinginto the 2022 season was 115-90-29. The crown jewel of his Branford coaching career came in the fall of 2014. Branford advanced all the way to the CIAC Class L state final. The Hornets, who had a 9-5-2 regular-season record,came into the Class L state tournament as the No. 17 seed. Branford pulled three consecutive upsets to reach the semifinals. Then the Hornets edged Joel Barlow of Redding 1-0 in the semifinal round before tying Avon 1-1 in the Class L state final and being named CIAC Class L State Champions.
It was Branford’s first appearance in a CIAC state championship game and the school's only state championship in school history. Hunter was selected to coach in the Connecticut Senior Bowl in 2014. He was also named the New Haven Register’s Area Coach of the Year for that magical season. That is only his success at Branford. Hunter has an unmatched resume in the soccer world. Paul Hunter played high school soccer at Staples in Westport. Hunter helped lead the Wreckers to both back-to-back FCIAC championships and Class L state championships. In those consecutive Class L state championship finals, Staples defeated Conard 1-0 both times. Hunterwas an All-FCIAC selection both seasons as well. He later went on to play at UConn under legendary coach Joe Morrone. He was an All-American First Team member as a senior and an All-American Honorable Mention pick as a junior.  He was also Team MVP both years and a captain for his senior season, helping lead UConn to its
second New England championship in a three-year stretch. He was also selected to play in the National Senior Bowl.
Hunter was selected in the first round – No. 11 overall – by the New York Cosmos in the 1977 North American Soccer League draft. He was a part of the Cosmos’ NASL championship that year. Hunter then played for the Detroit Express. He spent the 1981 season, his final one in the NASL, with the Tulsa Roughnecks. Hunter was named Co-Rookie of the Year in 1978.
Hunter was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004. A bookseller for Barnes and Noble, Paul Hunter is married to wife Vicky. They have two sons, Timothy and Matthew.