|Position:||Associate Head Coach|
Paul Souders joined the men’s soccer staff in the spring of 2016 as an assistant coach and was promoted to Associate Head Coach in the fall of 2018.
In his second season with UCF, Souders and the staff earned the American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year after winning the conference regular season title with a 5-1-1 record in conference play. Overall, the Knights finished 13-3-3. Since becoming a Division I program, it is the third best record the Knights have garnered. UCF put together an impressive 8-2-3 record at the UCF Soccer Complex scoring 29 goals and grabbing 86 points.
The 2018 team moved into the program record books after recording eight goals and eight assists in the 8-1 win over Jacksonville for 24 points, the fifth most in program history. The Knights also went on a 10-match unbeaten streak, which breaks their previous record of nine.
Souders helped coach one of the best offenses in all of Division I. For the entire regular season, the Knights have been ranked top 10 in the nation in almost every offensive category including total assists, total goals, total points, scoring offense, points per game, assists per game, goals per game, and have been the top team in shots per game and shots on goal per game. UCF was also the top team in The American in all of those categories.
Souders and the staff produced three major award winners (Offensive, Midfielder, Goalkeeper of the Year), seven All-Conference selections, and eight Player of the Week awards from The American. They also produced five All-Region selections and two All-Americans (Cal Jennings and Louis Perez). In addition to all the awards, the Knights capped off the regular season with a ranking of No. 9, which is the third highest in program history. Throughout the season, the Knights reached as high as No. 7.
For the sixth time in program history, the Knights reached the NCAA Tournament after earning a 14th seed, a first round bye, and hosting privileges.
Souders also helped produce a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist in Cal Jennings who scored 20 goals in 19 games including three hat tricks on the season.
During the 2017 season, Souders helped produce nine All-Conference selections, Offensive Player of the Year, and two NSCAA All-East Region honorees while finishing the season 8-6-2 with a 4-2-1 conference record. The Knights went on an eight-match unbeaten streak to make it to The American Conference Tournament finals. During his first year, the Knights never lost a match at home.
Souders also oversaw student-athlete academics where Matias Pyysalo was named The American’s Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The two-time NSCAA Far West Region Assistant Coach of the Year spent eight seasons at New Mexico before coming to Orlando, Fla.
During a nine-year stint with the Lobos, Souders helped the program to three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances, including a run to the 2013 NCAA College Cup in Philadelphia, Pa. New Mexico’s success includes qualifying for five NCAA Tournaments, four conference championships and an undefeated (18-0-4) campaign in 2011. The Lobos posted a 101-42-21 overall and 45-18-7 league mark during that span.
While serving as associate head coach over the past seven campaigns, Souders was responsible for recruiting, academics, scheduling and coaching the offensive attack.
Academics are a point of emphasis for Souders, who aided the Lobos to a program-record 3.43 grade point average in the fall of 2013. He mentored two-time COSIDA Academic All-America selection Levi Rossi and NSCAA Scholar Athlete Kyle Venter. Lobo student-athletes have also earned eight COSIDA Academic All-Region and 27 academic all-conference honors under his guidance.
Prior to arriving at New Mexico, Souders spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Dayton, helping the Flyers to a 27-18-11 overall record. During his tenure, four former Flyers who have played professionally in North America and Europe.
Dayton finished the 2007 campaign 10-4-5 overall and advanced to the opening round of the 2007 Atlantic 10 Men's Soccer Championship. The Flyers completed the season on a six-game unbeaten streak, had two players selected to the All-Atlantic 10 and NSCAA Middle Atlantic Region teams and finished No. 8 in the regional rankings.
The Dallas, Texas, native earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education at Clemson. Calabrese coached Souders during his senior campaign, which led to Souders playing in his fourth NCAA Tournament. He was a part of two NCAA Sweet 16 berths with the Tigers.
Souders also played in the U-23 United States Olympic Pool. He also has coaching experience with the New Mexico State U-16 team and served as a graduate assistant in 2004.
Souders and his wife, formerly Lindsey Gramley, have two daughters Kya and Tegan.