The Saint Mary's men's soccer team will face 11 postseason teams from a year ago and two national champions in 2018
Quentin "Squishy" Rios signed his Letter of Intent Wednesday morning and is now an official member of the Saint Mary's men's soccer team.
Chris Brown and Kacey Bingham will join head coach Travis Clarke to round out the 2018 staff.
On top of the team accomplishments, Cooper guided individuals to numerous weekly honors. Alex Christlieb was named the West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Week and to the College Soccer News, Soccer America and Top Drawer Soccer Teams of the week. Christlieb became the first Gaels to ever receive all four honors in the same week. Dylan Leslie was tabbed WCC Player of the Week the very next selection. Five honors were bestowed on SMC players at the end of the season. Matthew Fitzgerald was named to the first-team while Leslie garnered second-team honors and a selection to the All-Freshmen Team. Desmond Brooks and Christlieb were named honorable mention.
Under the direction of Cooper, two former players were drafted and will continue their soccer careers. Brooks was selected second overall in the Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft by Chivas USA. Brooks became the first men's soccer player at SMC to be drafted by the MLS. Fitzgerald was selected by the California Victory in the 2007 USL First Division College Player Draft.
In addition to Cooper's influence on the Saint Mary's program, the second-year head coach was also bestowed another highly-touted coaching position by being named the head coach for of the U.S. Maccabi junior boy's squad. Cooper will head a team of 14 and 15 year olds for the Maccabi Pan-American games in Argentina. Cooper will lead the team in December after the Saint Mary's 2007 season. The 11th Maccabi Pan-American games will take place on December 26 through January 2nd. The games will be based in Buenos Aires. Cooper also serves on the Cal North ODP coaching staff.
After serving as an assistant coach for the Saint Mary's men's soccer team for five seasons, Cooper was promoted to head coach as a unanimous choice by the selection committee, players and staff. Cooper officially took over the program on December 29, 2005.
As an assistant at SMC, Cooper was instrumental in the Gaels tying a school-record with nine wins in 2005. Cooper has also stamped his name on some impressive recruiting classes that included, 2003 West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year Matthew Fitzgerald, 2005 Freshman of the Year Michael Clegg and 2004 Second-Team Freshman All-American Brian Mason.
Cooper's coaching experience includes six years as a co-coach of the Los Angeles Maccabi boy's soccer team, which won six straight gold medals in the United States Maccabi Games from 1995-01. He also co-coached the varsity boys soccer team at Calabasas High School from 1999-01, guiding the team to the Frontier League Championship. Cooper served as the Technical Director for MDSL soccer club from 2003-05 and is currently the Associate Director of Coaching.
Cooper's playing experience includes one year of professional soccer with the Orange County Waves in the Division II A-League where he was the seventh pick in the first round of the 2000 A-League draft. Prior to playing professionally, Cooper was a four-year letter-winner at UCLA, helping the Bruins to the NCAA Championship in 1997 and a Final Four appearance in 1999. During that time he earned Academic All-Conference honors in 1996 and 1999 and completed a bachelor's degree in Sociology.
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