CANTON — Canton native David Vaudreuil, an All-American high school player at Canton High in 1983, has been named the second head coach of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Roughnecks in the United Soccer League.
Vaudreuil played at Princeton University and played professional soccer for 14 years, including several seasons in Major League Soccer from 1996 through 2002 with D.C. United, the Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire. He played on two MLS championship teams with D.C. United in Washington, D.C.
Most recently, Vaudreuil was an assistant coach with Rayo OKC in the North American Soccer League (NASL), a Division II league. Major League Soccer is the top level of soccer in this country and is considered a Division I league.
Rayo OKC was an expansion club based in Oklahoma City that began play this spring. Vaudreuil joined the club on August 1 and working with newly-appointed head coach Gerard Nus, he helped the club finish the season with a 10-match unbeaten streak, including five straight wins to complete the NASL season and earn a spot in the playoffs. Rayo OKC lost in the NASL semifinals to the New York Cosmos, 2-1.
“I am honored to be named head coach of the Tulsa Roughnecks, one of the iconic brands in American soccer history,” Vaudreuil said. “I look forward to working with technical director David Irving and club management to build a team that will capture the hearts of the Tulsa community and compete for championships in the USL and the US Open Cup.”
Tulsa went 5-21-4 this past season, finishing last among 15 teams in the USL’s Western Conference, scoring a league-low 25 goals. In 2014, the Roughnecks were 11-6-11 and seventh in the Western Conference, one spot shy of the playoffs.
It will be the third season for the Roughnecks next spring. The team was named the Roughnecks in honor of the original Tulsa Roughnecks who played in the North American Soccer League from 1978-84 when the league folded. The original Roughnecks won the NASL’s Soccer Bowl championship in 1983.
This edition of the Roughnecks are owned and operated by the Tulsa Drillers, a Double A minor league baseball team in the Texas League and affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tulsa’s home field is the Driller’s baseball stadium.
“We have all the pieces in place to build an incredible franchise,” Vaudreuil said. “A stable and committed ownership group, a state of the art venue in ONEOK Field, and a first-class training facility in Titan Sports and Performance Center.”
“It will all help to attract international level players and staff,” he said. “I am truly excited to begin work on building a dynamic and skillful team with the desire to win games and championships while entertaining the fans.”
Vaudreuil hopes to attract talented players to Tulsa to help the Roughnecks improve. Not only did Tulsa score a league-low 25 goals but they allowed a league-high 64 goals.
The United Soccer League is currently considered a Division III league behind MLS (Division I) and NASL (Division II) but that could be changing soon. On Tuesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation postponed their decision to reclassify NASL and USL. They hope to make a decision in the next two weeks.
There have been numerous published reports that the NASL is in trouble. Some teams have released all of their players – such as Rayo OKC – while other teams have petitioned to join other leagues. Two teams have petitioned to join the USL.
If the USL is classified as a Division II league, the equivalent of Triple A minor league baseball, it would make Tulsa and the Roughnecks a more attractive place for top soccer athletes to compete.
“We are ecstatic to have David Vaudreuil join our organization as head coach,” said Brian Carroll, vice president of the Roughnecks. “David’s network of contacts throughout North America is substantial, and it is exciting to see some of the relationships that he has already started to develop as he goes about constructing our squad for next season.”
Vaudreuil spent time under new USA national team coach Bruce Arena when he served as the head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy U-18 squad in 2009-10. In addition, he also played for Arena at D.C. United when the club won its first two MLS Cup titles.
Vaudreuil played under veteran coach Bob Bradley at Princeton. Vaudreuil was an assistant coach under Jay Heaps with the New England Revolution in the MLS in 2012 and was a general manager and head coach of the AC Milan USA Academy in 2007-08.
It is the second head coaching job for Vaudreuil, who spent a year and a half as the head coach of the Atlanta Silverbacks from 2004-05. In his first season, the Silverbacks went 14-11-3 in the A League, which was similar to the Triple A level in baseball. He was fired in June 2005, finishing with a 17-16-6 tenure with the club.
At Canton, he earned All-American and All-State honors in his senior season (1983) under the late head coach Bryon McKusick. Vaudreuil scored 28 goals in 1983, a single-season school record at that time that was later broken by Karl Schilling (33) in 2003. Vaudreuil finished his scholastic career with 47 goals, fourth best in school history. He helped the Warriors win a Class S championship in 1981.
Vaudreuil was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007 and Canton High’s Wall of Fame in 2006.