UC Irvine Names Yossi Raz Men's Soccer Head Coach
Courtesy of UC Irvine Athletics Media Relations
UC Irvine has announced a change in the leadership of its men’s soccer program with the naming of Yossi Raz as head coach.
Raz takes over guidance of the Anteater program after four seasons as head coach at Cal Poly Pomona. He was named California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading the Broncos to conference regular-season and tournament championships.
His Cal Poly Pomona team followed up in 2015 with a second consecutive 17-win season and the program’s second-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament that led to the championship match.
The Broncos returned to the NCAA tourney again in 2016, reaching the third round. In four seasons at Cal Poly Pomona, Raz compiled a record of 58-17-12.
“I look forward to the challenges of holding a prestigious position at a fantastic institution,” Raz said. “I believe that we can be a special soccer program that the community, athletic department, and campus will be proud of.”
“Yossi clearly has a proven track record of recruiting exceptional soccer players and developing their talents on the field, but his unique approach that encompasses the student-athlete experience was a real driving force that impressed us,” said UCI Athletic Director Mike Izzi.
“He is fully-invested in the challenges of building a culture at UC Irvine that embodies the ideals of the institution, which ultimately leads to graduating student-athletes and enhancing their skills to thrive throughout their lives,” Izzi added.
Raz is no stranger to the Big West Conference mentality as he was part of the soccer program at CSUN for 13 years, four as a student-athlete and nine more as an assistant coach. Raz was named First Team All-Big West in each of his four seasons competing for the Matadors, earning Big West Freshman of the Year honors and Scholar-Athlete of the Year distinction from CSUN and the Big West.
Raz joined the Matadors’ coaching staff in 2005 and made an immediate impact, helping CSUN amass a 15-4-3 record and a Big West championship. The Matadors reached the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, defeating league rival UC Santa Barbara in the program's lone Division I Tournament victory.
Off the pitch, Raz was President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and was selected for the NCAA Leadership Conference. His interest in academics continued on as an assistant coach at CSUN, as he was involved in the academic and social progress of his student-athletes and later at Cal Poly Pomona, consistently recognized by the Division of Student Affairs for his program’s 100 percent graduation rate.
“My past history allows me to understand and appreciate the quality of the Big West, both as a student-athlete and former coach. UC Irvine has always been an exemplary institution and athletic department within the conference, and I feel fortunate to now be a part of it and look forward to building great memories in the future."
Raz’s coaching circle includes the youth level, where he has recruited talent for the U.S. Youth National Team as a scout and coach. He has participated globally in coaching clinics in countries such as Guatemala, Brazil, and Spain, as well as being a training participant in Israel where he was born and raised. Raz previously spent time with the Israeli Youth National Team.
Raz is the fourth head coach in UCI men’s soccer history as the program prepares for its 34th season.
At UCI, he replaces Chris Volk, whose contract was not renewed.