The men’s (17-4-2) and women’s (11-5-2) soccer teams both won Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championships; Men’s Coach Ralph Perez was chosen as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III West Region Coach of the Year; women’s Coach Suzette Soboti had her 200th victory when the Bulldogs defeated the University of California at Santa Cruz 2-1 in October; and both coaches and their assistants were named the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year.
“We share a facility with the men’s team, and the men’s and women’s teams are very close,” Soboti said. “It’s always a really positive experience when both teams are successful. We can feed off each other and support each other, not just within our soccer program, but the department as a whole. There’s a lot of school spirit.”
Soboti has been coach since 1998, and Perez since 2006. All five of the women’s SCIAC titles have come under the leadership of Soboti, and seven of the men’s team’s 13th conference titles have been with Perez. This is the fifth time overall—and first time since 2008—that both teams won the conference, and the first time since 2011 that the men’s team made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“It was a year of coming together,” Perez said. “What you want is to play your best at the end of the season. That really drives the team.”
Director of Athletics Jeff Martinez is proud of both programs and the leadership shown by Soboti and Perez.
“The University is very fortunate to have head soccer coaches of this caliber that are committed to Division III philosophy, our institutional goals and most importantly, the young people in their programs,” he said. “They have both worked hard to create a culture of winning on the field as well as success and involvement off the field.”