PORTLAND, Ore. – Timbers 2 (T2) today named Jay Vidovich as the club’s first head coach for the 2015 USL PRO season. Vidovich will lead T2 after 21 seasons as head coach at Wake Forest University, where he has become one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history.
Vidovich, who also will serve as an assistant coach for the Portland Timbers first team, joins T2 as one of the most widely regarded soccer coaches at the collegiate level in the United States and an astute developer of talent. The 54-year-old, Detroit native has seen many of his players at Wake Forest advance to the professional ranks, including 11 first-round MLS SuperDraft selections since 2005. In total, 29 of Vidovich’s Wake Forest players have been selected by MLS clubs during the MLS SuperDraft since 2000, including U.S. Men’s National Team defender Michael Parkhurst and longtime MLS mainstays Brian Carroll and James Riley. Recently, Vidovich has helped develop players that have made the jump to MLS including Sam Cronin, Ike Opara and former U.S. U-17 National Team captain Jared Watts.
“Signing a coach of Jay’s considerable caliber and pedigree is both reflective of our commitment to the T2 team and his desire to coach at a higher level,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Timbers. “We view this as a major investment in the program and a vital step in the development of our young players coming through the club. Jay brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff. While Jay’s primary responsibility is as head coach of the T2 team, he will work closely with Caleb Porter and implement the same style and system as the first team.”
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Joining the Demon Deacons as an assistant coach in 1986, Vidovich accepted the role of head coach in 1994 and has built Wake Forest into an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) soccer powerhouse. Under Vidovich’s guidance, Wake Forest reached the NCAA Tournament in 13 of the past 14 seasons and captured five ACC regular-season championships. The program made four consecutive NCAA College Cup appearances from 2006-2009 and won its first NCAA National Championship in 2007.
“I couldn't pass up the opportunity to join the Portland Timbers organization as it is evident across the entire organization and the fan base that the Timbers strive to be successful at all levels,” Vidovich said. “I will take great pride in leading T2 and helping the Timbers to achieve success.
“It has been an honor to lead the Wake Forest men’s soccer program for the last 21 years, and I am thankful for everyone who has made this a special experience for me.”
Vidovich, who was named NSCAA National Coach of the Year in consecutive seasons (2007, 2008), compiled a 272-121-50 (.670) overall record in 21 years as head coach at Wake Forest. He earned five ACC Coach of the Year Awards (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009), while also logging a 76-52-22 (.580) overall conference record. Outside of the Demon Deacons program, Vidovich also spent time as an assistant coach with the U.S. U-18 National Team in 2009 and as a scout for the U.S. U-23 National Team under Timbers head coach Caleb Porter.
“After having the opportunity to work with Jay for the national team program and coaching against him for many years in college, I can say without hesitation we have found the ideal fit to serve as our head coach of T2,” Porter said. “For the past two decades Jay has been able to win games while doing it in a way that is conducive for the development of his players for the professional level. This type of pedigree as a head coach and his overall vision of the game will allow Jay to lead T2 seamlessly while working cooperatively with the first team to benefit the club as a whole.
“I look forward to having him on our technical team and no doubt his appointment will be of immense benefit to the entire organization from top to bottom.”
As a player, Vidovich spent one season at Indiana University in 1978 before transferring to Ohio Wesleyan where he was a three-year starter and captained the team to the NCAA semifinals in 1982. Vidovich received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Ohio Wesleyan, before proceeding to the University of Denver where he earned a master's degree in sports sciences in 1983.
While at Denver, he began his coaching career as an assistant on the Pioneers' 1982 team that won the NAIA Division II district and regional championships. In 1983, Vidovich moved to Regis College as an assistant coach, helping guide a team that included two NAIA All-Americans. Prior to earning a job as an assistant at Wake Forest under head coach Walt Chyzowych in 1986, Vidovich returned to his alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan, as an assistant coach from 1984-1985.
Vidovich holds a USSF “A” license and a NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.
He and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Zoe and Tess.