Jan. 13, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO -- Eddie Soto, a former All-American at Cal-State Fullerton who has spent the last eight seasons as an assistant coach at UCLA, has been appointed head men’s soccer coach at the University of San Francisco, Director of Athletics Scott Sidwell announced today.
Soto, 41, succeeds Erik Visser, who announced his retirement after 13 years (2001-13) as USF’s head coach. He becomes the fifth head coach in the program’s storied history, following USF alums Gus Donoghue (1947-60), Bob Braghetta (1961), Stephen Negoesco (1962-2000) and Visser.
He inherits a program that has won six national championships, made 30 NCAA Tournament appearances and has produced 48 All-Americans.
“We are thrilled to welcome Eddie Soto to the Dons’ family,” said Sidwell. “Eddie’s great passion and energy for the game of soccer set him apart in a very competitive, national search process. He brings vast experience to the position both as a coach and player and is a proven winner at the highest levels of competition. He is a tireless recruiter of young men with outstanding academic and athletic backgrounds. I’m confident under Eddie’s leadership USF’s men’s soccer program will return to national prominence.”
“I am honored to take over one of the nation’s most storied programs,” said Soto. “Throughout the process, I was very impressed with the high-degree of professionalism displayed by everyone on the USF athletic department staff and their commitment to the men’s soccer program. I welcome the challenge of returning the program to its rightful place of national prominence by recruiting high-caliber student athletes and play a possession-orientated, attacking style that will be enjoyable to watch.”
In his eight seasons at UCLA, Soto helped guide the Bruins to four Pac-12 Conference championships and eight NCAA Tournament berths, including three quarterfinal appearances and two trips to the College Cup (2006 and 2011). The Bruins also compiled a 44-6-10 conference record over the last six seasons. During Soto’s coaching tenure, 17 Bruin players were selected in the Major League Soccer draft, including seven first round picks.
Last season, UCLA finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the country by the NSCAA and College Soccer News and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins finished with a 12-3-5 overall record and a 6-1-3 mark in the Pac-12 Conference and defeated four top-3 opponents during the course of the season, including top-ranked Indiana and California. Six Bruin players earned All-Pac-12 honors, including junior midfielder Leo Stolz, who was named the conference’s player of the year and was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy awarded to the top player college soccer.
"Eddie Soto is a fantastic choice to be the next head coach at University of San Francisco, said UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo. “He brings a tremendous pedigree as a former player and a coach. During his time at UCLA, Eddie has a proven track record in managing all facets of a successful program. He is ready and excited to be the steward of the USF men’s soccer program."
In addition to his coaching duties at UCLA, Soto also served as the head coach of the U-18 LA Galaxy Academy team. He took over a last place Galaxy squad midway through the 2011 season and in just one year led the team to the U.S. Development Academy SoCal division title in 2012. Soto also helped coach the Galaxy U-17s to the 2011 adidas Cup championship and also served as an assistant coach for the U-16 Galaxy Academy team that won the 2011 National Championship. Soto also served as the head coach of the U.S. Beach Soccer National Team, which participated in FIFA’s Beach Soccer World Cup for the first time since 1997.
Prior to joining Jorge Salcedo’s staff at UCLA, Soto was the assistant men’s coach at Cal State-Fullerton from 2001-03 before joining the women’s staff at Long Beach State, where he served as lead assistant for two seasons (2004-05). He returned to Fullerton for one season before accepting the assistant’s position at UCLA.
Soto also has 20 years of experience coaching on the club level with the U.S. Developmental Academy, Southern California Developmental Soccer League (SCDSL) and the Coast Soccer League.
One of the country’s top players as a collegian at Cal State-Fullerton, Soto was a two-time All-America selection (1992 and ’93) and ranks as the No. 2 scorer in Titans history, totaling 96 points and 38 goals from 1992-94. He still holds the school’s single-season record for goals in a season with 18, set in 1994. In 1993, he led the Titans to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in school history and a quarterfinal appearance the following year.
In 2007, Soto was named to the Mountain Pacific Soccer Federation’s 15-Year Anniversary first team.
Following his graduation from Cal State-Fullerton in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in kinesiology, Soto was selected in the initial MLS Draft in 1996 by the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and again in the 1998 supplemental draft by the San Jose Clash. He also played professionally for the Orange County Zodiac of the A-League and the Los Angeles Cobras of the USISL before ending his career with the USA Pro Beach Soccer Team.
Soto was a two-time Parade All-American and the 1990 CIF 3-A Player of the Year at Cerritos (Calif.) High School. He was also a member of the NHB Futbol Club that won the 1991 national championship and a member of the U.S. U-18 and U-20 National Teams.
Eddie and his wife, Stephanie, have three children, Fabrizio, Wyatt and Isabela.