FanPost

A Look at Salcedo and Previous UCLA Men's Soccer Coaches

Bumped. Huge thanks to rye for this research. The data certainly raises lot of questions re. the direction of this legendary program under the current head coach. GO BRUINS. -N

N asked the question, "what is wrong with our underachieving men's soccer team" in a fanpost so I've compiled a background on head coach Jorge Salcedo and previous head coaches to see what's going on. Sorry, but I got information from a lot of different places and was in a rush so I couldn't attribute each stat to each source. The sources I used though were primarily NCAA.org and UCLABruins.com.

First, a background on Salcedo.

He got his start as a Bruins when he played for the team and even scored a decisive penalty kick in the 1990 National Title game which the Bruins won. Salcedo stayed around soccer and was the US U-17 coach in 2001 before taking a job as a Bruin assistant in 2001.

Salcedo then got the head job in 2004 and his tenure started off well as he won conference Co-Coach of the Year, the team won the conference title and was ranked #3 in the country before falling in the third round of the NCAA tournament. In his second season, 2005, the Bruins won another Pac 10 title and had the nation's best defense as they earned a #5 seed in the NCAA tournament. The team was stunned in their first match of the tournament though when they lost to SMU, an unranked team who went all the way to the title game. At this point there was concern that while a fine coach, Salcedo was not the elite coach who should be leading the Bruins because his teams folded in the tournament.

In 2006 though the Bruins overcame a tough regular season to pull out a couple dramatic wins in the NCAA tournament, including an epic comeback overtime victory at #1 Duke in the quarterfinals. The Bruins continued their run all the way to the NCAA title game where they lost to a strong UC Santa Barbara team , but it seemed as if Salcedo has overcome his tournament issue and the Bruins were back on track.

UCLA then entered last season as the nation's #1 team with all but one started returning fromt he team that advanced to the title game the previous season. The season was an unmitigated disaster though as the Bruins wen 9-9-2, struggled to make the tournament and lost in the second round.

Now the Bruins are 1-3-1 on the young season and seem destined for another disappointing season. Nobody doubts Salcedo's soccer acumen as he is a scout for the US national team and is respected around the soccer world, but is he the right man to lead the Bruins? Let's compare him to past UCLA coaches.

Former head coaches

The Bruins won their most recent national title in 2002 under the leadership of Tom Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is one of the nation's best coaches as he built the University of Tampa into one of the nation's finest programs and won a national title there. After winning a national title in his first season with the Bruins, Fitzgerald stuck around for one more before heading back to the University of Tampa to be closer to his family.

The coach who put UCLA soccer on the map was Sigi Schmid. The iconic figure in US soccer was first a player at UCLA before become an assistant coach the year after graduating in 1977. In 1980 Schmid took the head coaching job at UCLA and by 1985 the Bruins had their first national title. Schmid followed that title with two more, one in 1990 and the other in 1997. He left the program in 1999 when he took over as the head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

In between Schmid and Fitzgerald, Todd Saldana led the Bruins. In his first season, 1999, the Bruins won the conference title and went to the NCAA semifinals where they lost to eventual national champion Indiana in quadruple overtime. Saldana had decent, but not outstanding seasons the next two years before leaving the program after the 2001 season. UCLA claimed it was because Saldana received his degree from Columbia St., a "diploma mill," while others speculated it was due to consecutive mediocre seasons.

Head coach overall records (as of today, 9/15/08)

Salcedo: 50-27-13 (.627%)

Fitzgerald: 38-5-4 (.851%), 1 national title

Saldana: 43-17-4 (.703%)

Schmid: 322-63-33 (.809%), 3 national titles

Those are the facts. Schmid was an amazing success as he put the program on the map. Saldana left under suspicious circumstances and Fitzgerald won a national title and seemed to be well on his way to more before leaving to return home. The jury on Salcedo is still out. His recruiting class are always near the top of the nation and despite losing a number of players to MLS and European professional clubs, talent is never short in Westwood.

Should Salcedo be doing better? Is he doing a good job? Are you not quite sure and want some more time to evaluate him? Le'ts hear your thoughts.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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