OREM, Utah — Slated to begin play in 2014, the Utah Valley University men's soccer program took a giant step toward realization Wednesday when it announced the hiring of Greg Maas as the first-ever head coach of Wolverine men's soccer.
The move accelerates the institution's installation of men's soccer into the UVU varsity athletics' fold by the 2014 fall season. Utah Valley Director of Athletics Michael V. Jacobsen announced the addition on Oct. 9, 2012, during a press conference revealing UVU's acceptance of an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference.
"This is another tremendous milestone in an already exciting time for Wolverine athletics and our forthcoming men's soccer program," Jacobsen said. "Greg Maas is a proven leader with a tremendous passion for his craft. His knowledge of the game is unprecedented and I look forward to seeing this program grow to prominence under his direction."
Most recently and prominently, Maas has served as the technical director for the Utah Youth Soccer Association and as head coach of the Real Salt Lake Utah U-17 team. He brings with him a thorough understanding of all levels of competitive soccer and a deep insight into the development and cultivation of amateur players and student-athletes.
"It's a tremendous honor and privilege to be the first-ever head coach of Wolverine men's soccer, and I look forward to the challenge and opportunity with great anticipation," Maas said. "I also want to share my appreciation and thank my Utah Youth Soccer and Real Salt Lake family for all of their support as I endeavor to build a truly vertically integrated soccer program in Utah here at UVU."
Maas has held tremendous influence within the sphere of Utah state soccer for more than a decade in his capacity as technical director for the UYSA — the governing body for youth soccer within the state of Utah.
Since filling the position in 2001, he has helped to develop and implement playing opportunities to youth players of all ages and ability levels, seeing the number of registered members rise from 25,000 to 45,000 participants during his tenure. He is also responsible for directing the Olympic Development Program — Utah's premier soccer program which highlights some of the most talented and ambitious players in Utah and U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV.
Utah Youth Soccer, the state's affiliate for U.S. Youth Soccer, is the largest youth soccer organization in Utah. U.S. Youth Soccer stands as the largest sports organization in the United States as well as the most populous sector of the U.S. Soccer Federation. Approximately 45,000 athletes between the ages of 4 and 19 are registered with Utah Youth soccer each year, not to mention over 10,000 coaches, administrators and volunteers.
For the last five summers as the RSL U-17 head coach, not to mention his previous decade-long tenure as the Region IV Olympic Development Program staff and age group coach, Maas has had a steady hand in the development of some of Utah's top amateur players. His 2008 U-17 squad claimed the MLS U-17 Cup Championship, while his 2009 and 2010 teams finished in third and second place, respectively.
Maas has also held instructor positions with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer.
Maas holds a U.S. Soccer `A' License, U.S. Soccer National Goalkeeper License, U.S. National Youth License and the NSCAA International Premier Diploma.
"When we began the search for UVU's first men's soccer coach, we had lofty aspirations," said Jared Sumsion, associate athletic director for external operations and men's soccer administrator. "We wanted a steadfast leader, a savvy soccer mind, and someone who would embrace Utah's esteemed soccer community. Based on that criterion, Greg Maas is the complete package."
Prior to his move to Utah, Maas kicked off his coaching career in his home state of Oregon. There, he served as the director of coaching for the Lake Oswego Soccer Club for over six years.
A 1988 graduate of the University of Portland, Maas was a two-sport athlete. Under legendary soccer coach Clive Charles, Maas was a four-year, standout goalkeeper for the Pilots. But his athletic endeavors extended from the soccer pitch to the pitching mound where he also threw for the Portland baseball team.
Maas made history at his alma mater when he became the first goalkeeper out of the University of Portland to sign a professional contract. He went on to enjoy a five-year, pro career with FC Portland of the Western Soccer Alliance and the Portland Timbers of the American Professional Soccer League.
Maas presently resides in Sandy, Utah, with his wife Angie and two sons, Cody and Zach.
UVU men's soccer will begin play in the fall of 2014 and will compete alongside all other Wolverine sports, with the exception of wrestling (Western Wrestling Conference) and softball (West Coast Conference), in the WAC. As the only Division I men's soccer program in the state of Utah, UVU hopes to fill a void in the state's burgeoning soccer community and provide scholarship opportunities to potential student-athletes.
What others are saying about Maas:
"Coach Greg Maas has been an incredible influence on thousands of Utah soccer players as the technical director of Utah Youth Soccer for nearly 12 years. While he will be greatly missed, we are very excited and supportive of coach Maas in his new role as head coach of UVU men's soccer. I am confident he will do an outstanding job."
— Andrew R. Hiatt, CEO, Utah Youth Soccer Association
"Greg has been an integral part of Utah Youth Soccer Association and his knowledge and expertise have contributed to our success at all levels; from the individual player, to teams within the Far West Region, as well as players at university and college programs across the country. I am confident that Greg's work ethic, leadership and experience coaching elite players will resonate and attract the highest quality future student athletes to Utah Valley University. It is an exciting time for the soccer players of Utah to have a Division I program coached by Greg Maas."
— Cindy Baron, president, Utah Youth Soccer Association
"What a great hire for UVU men's soccer. At Real Salt Lake we've worked closely with Greg on our youth player development, and have a lot of respect for his coaching and commitment to player and program advancement. We could not think of a better hire to lead the new men's soccer program at UVU than coach Greg Maas."
— Bill Manning, president, Real Salt Lake
"I have known Greg for eight years now, and have had the pleasure of working with him in our first years of our RSL youth teams. He has proven himself to be professional, hard-working, always looking to innovate within the game, and most importantly in my opinion, a terrific man. I am very excited for him to be getting this fantastic opportunity with UVU, and I am certain that we will develop strong ties between this new program and Real Salt Lake for the good of all soccer in the state of Utah."
— Jason Kreis, head coach, Real Salt Lake
"Greg was the standout in a group of very impressive applicants. He brings a wealth of coaching experience to UVU and with his abilities and ties to the soccer community, he will quickly build a high quality program here. I am very excited about Greg joining the Wolverines and I'm looking forward to working with him."
— Brent Anderson, head coach, UVU women's soccer
"Utah Valley University Athletics has made an outstanding choice in selecting Greg Maas to become the first coach of the new men's soccer program. Greg is a very intelligent, personable and player-centered coach with tremendous understanding of soccer at all levels. I have no doubt that Greg will develop something very special at UVU."
— Paul Holocher, head coach, Cal Poly men's soccer
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company