Dr. Ivan Joseph `96 From Soccer Coach to Vice Provost of Student Affairs

Dr. Ivan Joseph `96: No One Will Believe in You Unless You Do.

Dr. Ivan Joseph’s `96 new book, You Got This: Mastering the Skill of Self-Confidence, discusses how “self-confidence can be the difference between success and failure, whether on the field, at the office or at home.” Joseph’s unstoppable career began as a student at Graceland University. And while at Graceland, he discovered that self-confidence is a skill, and skills can be taught.


At the age of five, Joseph and his older sister flew to Toronto from Guyana with only the clothes on their backs to meet their parents, who had fled the Communist regime in the “bright flight” just two weeks after Joseph’s birth in search of a better life. That “better life” still only landed his dad, a new college graduate, and his young family in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Toronto with the highest concentration of criminal gangs in Canada at the time.


“We were as poor as potatoes; my father sold encyclopedias door to door at night to get by. He also got up at 4 a.m. every day to hitchhike north to a dairy farm outside the city limits, where he worked as a laborer.”


Joseph himself worked alongside the dairy farm owner’s son when they were just kids, and at age 11, they were put in charge, entrusted to run the day-to-day operations of the farm. His upbringing was full of love and family, and he learned you only get where you want to go with hard work.


As a kid, Joseph’s dad coached the soccer team he played on with his sister. The team included players three years his senior and led to a strong athletic ability. While in high school, Joseph turned down a dual track and soccer scholarship offered by Graceland and stayed closer to home, attending Laurentian University. He lost his sense of purpose at Laurentian and was an unsuccessful college student, but Graceland gave him a second chance that allowed him to turn his life around.


Joseph played soccer and ran track for Graceland and, following graduation, served as residence hall director of one of the men’s residence halls and coached the men’s soccer team to a national championship. He also continued his studies, earning a master’s degree through Drake University, which allowed him to add assistant professor to his list of duties, and he enrolled in a PhD program.


“No one will believe in you unless you do.”


During Joseph’s first year as head men’s soccer coach at Graceland, he began to understand and put into practice the skill of self-confidence with his players. This was just the beginning. After returning to Toronto with his young family to accept a position at Ryerson University as athletic director and head men’s soccer coach, the practice of instilling self-confidence in student-athletes ultimately led to winning teams at both universities.


Since his days at Graceland, Joseph has continued to serve as the athletic director and head men’s soccer coach at Ryerson University, he has written a book and speaks at a number of engagements about the skill of self-confidence, including a successful TEDx Talk. He recently spent time in his native Guyana coaching the women’s soccer team in the World Cup and, effective Aug. 1, has accepted the position of vice provost of student affairs at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… you must do the thing you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt.


Joseph has looked fear in the face his entire life and has developed the skill of self-confidence himself that continues to bring him success.