Ryan Jorden's tenure as the head coach of Pacific men's soccer came to an end today after he accepted the head coaching position at UCLA.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to have Coach Ryan Jorden at the University of the Pacific. I do believe he represents the best that intercollegiate athletics has to offer," Pacific Director of Athletics Janet Lucas said. "Ryan re-started the men's soccer program here just six years ago with a true vision about creating a special environment and opportunity focused team culture, athletic achievement, academic success, and community connection. Coach Jorden was exceptional. He will be missed as an integral part of the Pacific family and we wish him the very best."
Jorden's departure comes after an outstanding stint at the helm in which Jorden won 42 games in five seasons and took the Tigers to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. While at Pacific, his tutelage led to three players being named as All-Americans, a West Coast Conference Player of the Year, two WCC Defensive Players of the Year and two players drafted by MLS clubs. Jorden was named as the West Coast Conference's Coach of the Year in 2016. In total, Jorden and his staff coached players to 22 All-WCC selections and six All-Freshman Team selections and 13 All-Academic Team selections in five short seasons.
"It has been a tremendous honor to have been able to serve at the University of the Pacific for the past 6 years. Starting and leading the men's soccer program at Pacific has been such a unique opportunity for which I will be forever grateful," Jorden said. "The environment at the University has been conducive to creating a fantastic student-athlete experience and I am so thankful to everyone who has impacted our student-athletes during the past five seasons. I will miss the family atmosphere and relationships that I have developed in the athletics department and on campus and I wish tremendous success to all of the athletics programs at Pacific in the coming seasons."
When Jorden took over at Pacific in 2014, he was tasked with not only building a team but a program completely from scratch. He revived the program from a 28-year hiatus and built a team made up of student-athletes from around the world that have gone on to be stellar student-athletes.
While the first two years were rocky ones with the team winning a combined three games, Jorden led the Tigers to a huge bounce back in 2016 winning 13 games and securing an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. That season the Tigers defeated San Diego State, which was ranked 11th at the time during the non-conference season and went 4-1-2 in the West Coast Conference. The Tigers defeated Cal State Northridge in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, 1-0 before falling to the eventual National Champions, Stanford.
2016 also saw Jorden and Pacific's first All-American selection in Tristan Blackmon who scored four goals and assisted on five more that season. Jorden's incredible turnaround of the Tigers earned him the 2016 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honor.
2016's NCAA tournament appearance got the ball rolling to a second appearance in 2017 when the Tigers went 13-4-2 and 4-2-1 in the WCC. The regular season started off with six-straight wins including one over Virginia Tech in Virginia. The Hokies were receiving votes at the time. That season, the Tigers hosted the first-ever NCAA Tournament game at Knoles Field in a 2-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton. The Tigers fell to the again eventual National Champions, Stanford in the Second Round.
Pacific's success and Jorden's coaching helped Tristan Blackmon to become the first ever Tiger to be drafted into the MLS as the third overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft to Los Angeles Football Club. Blackmon was also named as the WCC's Defensive Player of the Year.
Jorden led the Tigers to their third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018 with a 12-5-2 record and a 5-2 record in the West Coast Conference. The Tigers pulled off upsets over two nationally-ranked teams in No. 14 California, 2-1 and No. 11 Portland, 3-2. The team earned the right to host the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season but had to relocate the day of the match to Fresno Pacific University due to smoke caused by fires in the Northern California area. Jorden ensured that his team overcame the adversity and pulled off a 1-0 victory at the neutral site. The Tigers went on to fall to Duke, 1-0, in the second round.
2018's team racked in the awards as well as Camden Riley and Wouter Verstraaten both earned All-American honors as well as All-WCC First Team Honors. Riley picked up WCC Player of the Year honors and Verstraaten was named as the Conference's Defensive Player of the Year. Riley was drafted by Sporting KC in January and is Jorden and Pacific's second player to reach the MLS ranks.
A national search will begin immediately for the next head coach of the men's soccer program at the University of the Pacific.