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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Soccer

New soccer coach Jaime Frias looks to continue 2021 success


New UH soccer head coach Jaime Frias will begin his first season leading the Cougars on Aug. 14 at home against LSU. | Courtesy of Virginia Athletics

New UH soccer head coach Jaime Frias will begin his first season leading the Cougars on Aug. 14 at home against LSU. | Courtesy of Virginia Athletics

After a historic 2021 season for the UH soccer team, a new campaign begins with new company as the Cougars brought in head coach Jaime Frias.

Ending last season with an overall record of 13-5-2, the Cougars are coming off their best season in program history, going 9-1-1 at home and sparking four separate win streaks of three or more victories before ending the season in the American Athletic Conference Tournament first round. 

Despite the heartbreaking loss to close the 2021 season, UH now looks to turn the page to a fresh chapter to start Frias’ tenure.

Earning his appointment for the lead role at Houston, Frias’ vision paralleled that of what the program sought for the UH soccer team’s future.

“This is a group that is really motivated,” Frias said. “I think they had a good taste of success last year. During my interview, I asked ‘What is it that you want? What do you want to accomplish?’ and almost in unison, they said that they wanted more. They want to win a championship, they want to participate in the NCAA Tournament, which aligns with what I wanted to do. I was happy to hear that. It made this job much more attractive, and when I came here and started to work with the players, I felt that held to be true.”

Frias previously served as an assistant coach for the Virginia women’s soccer team, with stints at the United States Soccer Federation as a head coach for several youth teams as well as collegiate head coaching spells with Nevada and Stephen F. Austin’s women’s soccer teams. 

With plenty of experience throughout his coaching career, Frias now looks to write his own history in scarlet and white.

“I think those experiences helped me have a clearer vision for what a successful team looks like,” Frias said. “I know what success looks like, and there are certain intangible things. Are your players motivated? Are the sessions organized? Do you have the support staff around you to execute a plan? I think the answer is yes to all those questions. I feel the people here within the athletics department are extremely supportive of what we want because they know what success looks like. For all those reasons, I think this is a great place to be at.”

Success and expectations ride off what has been accomplished in the past, and with a record year for the soccer team last season, expectations and goals will prove to float higher than in previous seasons. 

On and off the field, Frias is looking to follow up last season’s success and maintain the culture that will benefit the program, staff, players, and fans.

“I think our goal is always going to be to grow and develop our players,” Frias said. “That is never going to change. We want them to do well academically. We want to graduate our players. We also want them to be successful on the field, and not just for the sake of winning, we want to inspire and create great affinity for our program. You can’t do that if you don’t play good soccer. The better soccer you play, the more attractive style you play, the more fans are going to come out.”

As the fall creeps over the horizon, the UH soccer team will look to make an impact in one last season in the AAC before moving to the Big 12 in 2023.

With several changes in the squad and staff, the Cougars will enter a new era as the team prepares for the new season starting on Aug. 14 at home against LSU.

“Fans can expect a team that is much like the community,” Frias said. “With all teams that you coach, you try to get a sense for the community, and as the team represents the community, the community is diverse, so we’re going to try and have a diverse team in any single way we can. The city is innovative and creative in many different ways, and we’re going to be innovative and creative with what we do on the field. So the fans are gonna have a team that is representative of the city, the community, and the university. Our hope is that they walk away wanting to come back again.”

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