Jay Vidovich, who was named as the new head coach of Timbers 2 on Thursday, comes to the club with one of the most impressive portfolios of any college coach in the United States.
Vidovich, who previously worked as head at Wake Forest University for 21 seasons, guided the Demon Deacons to an NCAA National Championship in 2007 and amassed a career record of 272-121-50 overall. But Vidovich will bring more to T2 than just a winning mentality.
Since 2001, an astounding 32 Wake Forest players have been selected in either the MLS SuperDraft or the MLS Supplemental Draft. Of those picks, 11 were taken in the first round, second only to UCLA among all collegiate programs.
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From a developmental standpoint, Wake Forest has long been one of the premier incubators of collegiate talent and few American coaches have done as much to help prepare players for the pro game as Vidovich.
“We view [the hiring of Jay] as a major investment in the program and a vital step in the development of our young players coming through the club," said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson. "Jay brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff."
In 2005, four Wake Forest players were taken in the MLS SuperDraft, including 2007 MLS Defender of the Year and U.S. international Michael Parkhurst, Trinidad and Tobago international Scott Sealy, and defender James Riley.
More recent draft picks selected from Vidovich's Wake Forest program include 2014 MLS SuperDraft picks Chris Duvall of the New York Red Bulls and Jared Watts of the Colorado Rapids. During the 2014 season, Watts started 13 matches for Colorado and racked up nearly 1,200 minutes of playing time. Duvall, meanwhile, played more than 1,600 minutes at right back, starting 18 games for the Red Bulls.
After he was taken with the 22nd pick, Duvall heaped praise on the program that helped mold him as a player and as a person.
"I wouldn’t trade my experience at Wake Forest for anything," Duvall told the New Jersey Star-Ledger at the SuperDraft. "It’s something I’ll always value, my growth as a player and a person."
Other standout players to have come out of Vidovich's program include Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara, San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Sam Cronin, Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Lahoud, veteran Union midfielder Brian Carroll and FC Dallas defender Stephen Keel.
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter singled out Vidovich for his ability to develop young players for the professional level.
"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," Porter said. "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."
Vidovich now joins T2 and the Timbers first-team coaching staff, grateful for the experiences he had at Wake Forest, but excited for the opportunity to help build something special with the Timbers.
"I will take great pride in leading T2 and helping the Timbers to achieve success," he said. "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.”