Rich Ryerson and Liam Connors honored after stellar season by the Rebels.
Ryerson named Coach of the Year, Bernal and Mellies
UNLV will play its first games on the East Coast in six years and also face three NCAA squads.
Rebels bring in six for the 2013 season.
Representatives from UNLV Athletics will read at more than 20 local schools over the next week.
UNLV Gametime segment on 8 News Now with Chris Maathuis and UNLV men's soccer head coach Rich Ryerson.
Former Rebel standout Rich Ryerson was named the fifth head men's soccer coach in UNLV program history on April 7, 2010. He took over the helm of the program after spending the previous two years as an assistant coach under former Rebel coach Mario Sanchez.
"It was a dream come true, to become head coach at my alma mater," said Ryerson. "UNLV has made such a big impact on my life, it's been the foundation for everything I've accomplished and experienced in the sport of soccer."
In his first year as the Rebels' head coach, Ryerson took a team that had 11 newcomers and coached it to a 6-11-2 mark. Seven of the 11 losses were by one goal, and UNLV pulled off several impressive victories, including a win at Stanford and both a win and tie against MPSF Mountain champion Denver.
The Rebels struggled with injuries in 2011, but one big highlight was unheralded recruit Salvador Bernal of Las Vegas, a member of Ryerson' first recruiting class who became the second player in team history to be named MPSF Newcomer of the Year.
In Ryerson's third season, the Rebels pulled off several noteworthy outings, including home victories over Cal State Northridge and Air Force, both eventual NCAA Tournament squads.
Just as important as the coaching aspect of the job is Ryerson's fundraising accomplishments. In the summer of 2011 he was able to help UNLV secure an $850,000 donation from the Englestad foundation, as well as other donations to help ensure the stability of the men's program at UNLV for the next five years. Most recently, with the help of former men's coach Barry Barto, a one million dollar donation from the Hannah family was secured in 2013, bringing Ryerson's soccer specific fundraising totals over two million in four years.
One of four Ryerson brothers to play for the Rebels (Rob, Kenny, Tim), Rich Ryerson was a four-year starting defender/midfielder for the Rebels from 1983-86 and led UNLV to three NCAA tournament appearances and three straight conference championships during his first time in Las Vegas. In his junior season, the Rebels posted a program-best 18-2-2 mark and No. 4 final national ranking, and that 1985 squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 1, 2010.
A two-time all-region and all-conference selection, Ryerson scored 20 goals and had 20 assists. Ryerson started all 84 games during his time as a Rebel and still holds school records for both most career games played and most career starts. Ryerson was also named one of Soccer America's Top-10 Freshmen of the Year in 1983.
Ryerson graduated from UNLV in 1987 with a bachelor's of science degree in business administration. He went on to play a total of 10 years in several professional soccer leagues, including two in Kinna, Sweden, and finished his career in 1998 with the Baton Rouge Bombers of the Eastern Indoor Soccer League, where he was named the EISL's Defensive Player of the Year.
Beginning in 1994, Ryerson served as athletic director and physical education teacher for the Marywood-Palm Valley School, a K-12 program in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and he held that position until 2006 when he moved back to Las Vegas. He served as Director of Coaching for the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club for two years but stepped down from that position after accepting the Rebels' head job. In 2010, Ryerson was the Nevada State Vice President for US Youth Soccer before changing positions to Director of Coaching for the association after taking over at UNLV.
A native of Maryland, Ryerson was inducted into that state's Soccer Hall of Fame on May 11, 2012.
Ryerson is married to the former Vanes Valenzuela and they have two children, Vashti (17) and Payton (14).
Notes on Ryerson
UNLV Head Coach
Became the fifth head coach in UNLV history on April 7, 2010
In his first season, led the Rebels to a win at Pac-10 member Stanford, as well as two shutouts against MPSF regular-season champion Denver
Salvador Bernal, a member of his first recruiting class, named 2011 MPSF Newcomer of the Year and to the College Soccer News All-Freshman Third Team
Rebels knocked off a pair of NCAA teams in 2013 under Ryerson - Cal State Northridge and Air Force
As a Player
Holds UNLV records for most career games played and started
Four-year starter, helped Rebels to three NCAA Tournament appearances and three conference championships, as well as an 18-2-2 record and a No. 4 national ranking in 1985
Member of the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame, as he was part of the 1985 squad that was inducted on Oct. 1, 2010
Played 10 years in a several professional leagues.
Eastern Indoor Soccer League's Defensive Player of the Year in 1998
On May 11, 2012, was inducted into the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame
As a Coach
Director of Coaching for Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club from 2008-09
Head Coaching Record