UC Merced taps Martins as first men's soccer coach

slynch@mercedsunstar.comApril 12, 2013 

The UC Merced coaching family is complete.

The school announced on Thursday that it had filled its final coaching position, with Albert Martins heading the men's soccer program when it makes its intercollegiate varsity debut in the fall.

"I've been waiting for an opportunity to show up in this area for a long time," Martins said. "There's always been Turlock and Modesto, but I know from my playing days that this area is seriously untapped. I'm excited for this opportunity, and it's even better that it's home."

Joining women's volleyball coach Allen McCreary and men's basketball coach John Sykes, Martins is a head coach with multiple local ties.

Born and raised in Los Banos, Martins played the Beautiful Game at Los Banos High before moving on to star at Cal State Stanislaus.

He was twice named to the All-CCAA team while with the Warriors and became the school's first All-Far West Region selection.

In 2005, Martins took his skills to the the California Gold of the USL Professional Development League.

He began his coaching career with a return to Stanislaus as an assistant.

Martins also has had coaching stops at Modesto Junior College and Cal State Bakersfield, with success following him wherever he's gone.

He's also had successful stints as a head coach at the club level, leading the Modesto Ajax Elite Girls Soccer program and the U-16 Boys Roadrunner FC team.

"We had a long list of qualified applicants that we narrowed down to two," Associate Director of Recreation and Athletics David Noble said. "Albert was our top choice and we're pretty excited to have him.

"Anytime you can get a coach with ties up and down the valley -- particularly to Merced County -- it's a huge bonus."

With his late hire, Martins knows putting together a recruiting class before games begin in September will be a challenge, but he's pleased by the amount of interest already on campus.

"I haven't had a chance to meet with the current team yet, but I've been told numbers are the least of my worries," Martins said. "I'm looking forward to getting the guys in, figuring out what system will be best for us and then starting to build what I hope will be a winning program."

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