San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Men’s soccer hires Ryan Hopkins as head coach

Photo courtesy of SDSU Athletics
Ryan Hopkins was on a coaching staff at Virginia that made the national championship game in 2019.

The wait is over.

Less than two months after Lev Kirshner was relieved of his duties as the San Diego State men’s soccer coach, the Aztecs have found their new man.

SDSU Director of Athletics Director John David Wicker announced on Jan. 21 that Ryan Hopkins will be the fourth head coach in program history.

Hopkins still resides in Virginia but expects to arrive on campus early February to begin his duties.

The Southern California native most recently served as an assistant coach at Virginia.

Hopkins was part of the Cavaliers team that made it to the finals of the NCAA tournament this past season, losing in penalty kicks to Georgetown.

Virginia was the defending Atlantic Coastal Conference Coastal Division and ACC Tournament champions as a No. 1 overall seed.

When he received the call on Tuesday, Hopkins was excited to get started.

“There’s a ton of potential. I think some good groundwork has been laid for the program,” Hopkins told The Daily Aztec. “I’m just excited to carry the next leg of that torch. It’s going to be a big challenge, and we got a lot of work to do.”

Prior to Virginia, Hopkins spent five seasons at the University of Denver.

The Pioneers held consecutive undefeated regular seasons in 2015 and 2016 with a combined record of 28-0-6.

At Denver, Hopkins was a part of a program that captured four-straight Summit league regular season and tournament championships, along with advancing to the national tournament in four out of five seasons.

Hopkins cares for what happens inside the classroom too.

In his last two years with the Pioneers, the program earned the highest GPA in all of NCAA Division I Soccer.

Hopkins believes it’s important for collegiate players to invest in a future career, even if they achieve their athletic dreams.

“My ultimate mission and why I love college athletics and college soccer is to prepare them for life after college,” Hopkins said. “I want our guys to have professional soccer aspirations. I’m going to do everything in my power to help develop and give them opportunities.”

His coaching résumé dates back to 2004, but this is the first time Hopkins will lead his own program.

Currently, the Aztecs have gaps on the coaching staff and player roster.

Hopkins intends on finding the right pieces.

“I think it will be a work in progress but I want to take my time,” Hopkins said. “Certainly, I want to give the other assistants who are there now an opportunity. Then, I want to get into the job and see what the inner workings are.”

Hopkins said fans should be excited for the future of men’s soccer at SDSU.

He aspires his team to play similarly to the professional English side club Liverpool FC.

“I want to be an up-tempo, transition kind of creating team on the attack,” Hopkins said. “Defending-wise, especially with how the (SDSU) Sports Deck is designed, I want to be a big time pressing, get-in-your-face pressure on the ball type of team.”

In the United States, soccer is still growing. It’s not as popular as baseball, football or basketball.

Certainly that is different on a global scale.

A lot has happened in San Diego within the past 12 months.

The emergence of two brand new clubs in the 1904 FC and SD Loyal bring potential for a city that is known to be a hotbed for the sport.

Hopkins believes there is a future for the game in both San Diego and America.

“There’s some exciting things going on,” Hopkins said. “On a youth level, soccer is still the number one most participant sport right now. There is a lot of exciting things on the horizon as we continue to grow the game all over the country.”

About the Contributor
Cristian Alvarez
Cristian Alvarez, Staff Writer
Cristian Alvarez is a sixth-year journalism student at SDSU. Currently, Cristian is in his second year at The Daily Aztec. Through his passion for many sports, he has covered a variety of teams but most notably men's soccer, women's lacrosse and women's basketball. A devoted fan of the UFC, Manchester United, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Chargers and Vegas Golden Knights, Cristian takes pleasure in attending sporting events while getting to unfold the stories in between the lines. Follow him on Twitter for the latest updates @AlvarezTheViper.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Men’s soccer hires Ryan Hopkins as head coach