B.S. Kinesiology, Wheaton College, 2007
Ryan Souders heads into his fourth year as men's soccer coach at Calvin College. He also serves as the coordinator of athletics recruitment at Calvin.
A native of Wheaton, Illinois, Souders (Sow-dirs) is a 2003 Wheaton Academy Graduate and a 2007 graduate of Wheaton College. In three years at Calvin, Souders has produced a won-loss record of 48-11-5 (.776) that includes three MIAA regular season crowns, two MIAA Tournament titles and two trips to the NCAA III Tournament. During his time at Calvin, he has also coached four players (Nick Holtrop, Travis Vegter, Sean Broekhuizen & Niko Giantsopoulos) who have received Division III All-America honors.
In his first year at the helm of the Knights, he led Calvin to MIAA regular season and MIAA tournament titles as well as a berth in the NCAA III Tournament. Calvin finished 16-4-1 during his inaugural season as head coach including 12-1-1 in the MIAA. Included in the season was an unbeaten streak of 15 consecutive matches.
He followed in 2013 by lead Calvin to its second consecutive MIAA regular season title with the Knights finishing 14-5-1 overall and 12-2-0 in the MIAA. The 2014 season proved to a historic year for the Knights as Souders led Calvin to an overall record of 18-2-3 that included an MIAA regular season mark of 14-0-0. Calvin then captured the MIAA Tournament title with a win over Alma and a shoout victory over Kalamazoo to complete an undefeated year against league competition. Calvin then advanced to the second round of the NCAA III Tournament before bowing in a penalty kick shootout to eventual NCAA III semifinalist Ohio Wesleyan University.
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 after being announced as Calvin's head coach in May of 2012. "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."
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 is 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).
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, 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.
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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's Spiritual Mission
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.
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