Meet Ryan Souders
Ryan Souders is the new head men's soccer coach at Calvin College.
A native of Wheaton, Illinois, Souders (Sow-dirs) is a 2003 Wheaton Academy Graduate and a 2007 graduate of Wheaton College.
Souders was a four-year member of the Wheaton College men's soccer team and was the starting goalkeeper on the squad that reached the 2006 Division III NCAA Finals. Souders played a crucial role in his team's run to the national finals as he collected three saves in a shootout win over second-ranked York (PA) in the national quarterfinals. For his efforts, he was named the sectional tournament Most Valuable Player.
"I am ecstatic to be a part of both Calvin College, as an institution, as well as its men's soccer program specifically," said Souders. "It is a place that seeks to honor God first, enhance the minds of its students, as well as produce results in the athletic arena."
Souders also spoke to the tradition of the Calvin men's soccer program. "The Calvin men's soccer program has a long standing tradition of on field excellence, highlighted most recently by two national runners up finishes," said Souders. "I am really looking forward to being involved and engaged with alums, families, and the community in order to both maintain the tradition and continue to produce results on the field. "
Dr. Jim Timmer, Calvin's director of men's athletics also commented on Souders. "We are extremely excited about the future of our soccer program under the direction of Coach Souders," said Timmer. "He has a passion for soccer, a passion for Christian liberal arts education and a passion for developing collegiate student-athletes. I am very confident that he will do a tremendous job in leading our men's soccer program."
He takes over a Calvin men's soccer program that has claimed five consecutive MIAA regular season titles and reached the NCAA Division III Championship finals twice in the last three years.
As a student-athlete at Wheaton, Souders had the opportunity to go head-to-head against Calvin three times with Wheaton winning all three meetings. "In my time against the Knights, our games were always a battle," said Souders. "Calvin has never been an easy team to play against, at home or on the road. It has always been a team that will come at you, full force for 90 minutes. I am excited to be a part of a group that will do that to other teams moving forward, as opposed to being on the receiving end."
Souders becomes the seventh head coach in Calvin men's soccer history. He was preceded by Roul Bykerk (1959), Tony Brouwer (1960), Marv Zuidema (1961-1967, 1969-1997), Ralph Honderd (1968), Dave VerMerris (1998-2001) and Chris Hughes (2002-2011). Hughes departed Calvin earlier this spring to accept the head men's soccer coaching position at Davenport University.
The 27-year old Souders has served as an assistant men's soccer coach both at Gordon College (MA) and at his alma mater Wheaton. He most recently spent two years an an assistant coach at Division I Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. This past fall, he was part of a Davidson coaching staff that helped the school upset second-ranked North Carolina 1-0.
Souders also has experience as both a player and coach at the professional level. He joined the Davidson coaching staff after competing for (non-professional) Bridges F.C. in Chicago in 2009. Prior to returning to the pitch, he served as the goalkeeping coach for the Cleveland City Stars Reserve Team. In 2010, he served as a goalkeeper for the Charlotte Eagles - a member of the USL-2 Pro Division.
Souders, who graduated from Wheaton with a double major, earning a bachelor of science degree in applied health science and a bachelor of arts degree in business and economics, will have a chance to coach against his alma mater next fall as Calvin is scheduled to travel to Wheaton for a Friday-night game on September 14. The Knights will open the 2012 season in a tournament at Illinois Wesleyan University August 31 and September 1.
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The goals of this program are two-fold: One being off field, and the other, on field. In all things, we want to be men that exhibit Christ likeness, and pursue excellence.
Off of the field that means we want to be men of integrity, that perform well in the classroom.
The goal of the men's program on the field has been laid out before I even stepped foot on campus. We want to continue to compete for and win the MIAA, an incredibly difficult conference. Beyond that, the aspirations are to compete on a national level, against the very best teams in the country. We have an athletic department, and group of current players that feel the same way.
Calvin and Wheaton as Like Minded Schools:
In coming to Calvin, I love that the goal and mission of the institution is one that I am familiar with. The idea of "Minds in the Making" is a fantastic goal for our students. Paul encourages us in Romans 12 that we are not to look like the rest of the world. That in fact we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (12:2). Calvin, then, has set out a plan of growing and nurturing students through various forms highlighted by academics and in this case athletics. I couldn't be more excited about the chance to help contribute to this.