Men’s soccer assistant coach Chris Taylor has seen the highs and lows of the ORU mens’s soccer.
While Taylor was enjoying conference championships at the University of Tulsa from 2008-2011, a dark cloud was forming over the Golden Eagles’ soccer program. Taylor went from a career sophomore year, to being drafted 22nd overall in the MLS SuperDraft by the Portland Timbers in 2011.
For the Golden Eagles, the 2015 spring and summer offseasons was built around the buzz word within the program, “culture.” From exhibition matches against high-level teams and even ORU’s Perry Brooks receiving an invitation to play with the Bahamas National team, the Golden Eagles have built momentum towards the success the program desires to see.
Men’s soccer Head Coach Ryan Bush is adamant about establishing a culture that breeds players for the highest level.
“Playing pro, talent is a big deal, and we are going to continue that. It’s going to help us to continue to produce professionals and get guys to the next level,” Bush said.
In July, the next phase of the men’s soccer rebuild continued when Bush announced the hiring of Taylor as his assistant. As a program working to establish a professional culture, the excitement surrounding Taylor is apparent.
“He has proven himself at every level from competing for the U.S. U-20 National Team to making four national tournament appearances during his college career,” Bush said.
Now as an assistant coach, the program that was once Taylor’s cross-town rival is now his new home. He seems to be on the same page as Bush, aiming to make professionalism the ear-mark of men’s soccer.
“When I was playing soccer at TU the [ORU]program was not where the University wanted it to be. Ryan, over the last two years, has put a lot into establishing a culture of hard work and serving others,” Taylor said.
The ORU program had its best record in eight seasons in 2014, finishing 8-8-2 in Bush’s second year at the men’s soccer helm.
The three-time all-Conference USA player and four-time NCAA tournament competitor hopes to help ORU continue improving to the point of national success.
“I want these student athletes to realize we are going to treat them as professionals,” said Taylor. “We want them to graduate and hopefully graduate early and go on to play professionally.”
Taylor has no shame raising the stakes for what he and Bush will be expecting.
“Ryan has done a fantastic job over the last two years at establishing what we see as a top-25 program here in the next few years,” said Bush. “You’ve got to always look at what can you do to make the program more professional and make these kids’ lives more professional, and those are the steps we are willing to take.”
In his first season with the Golden Eagles, Taylor has joined lockstep with Bush in the pursuit of success within the program.
“It takes a vision and commitment to excellence,” Taylor said. “We’ve got the goal at the top; now, we have to put together the sub goals to reach that.”