Soccer Alum, Waibel Joins Coaching Staff
Aug. 8, 2012
SEATTLE - Former Husky standout Craig Waibel is returning to the University of Washington to serve as an assistant coach for the men's soccer program, head coach Jaime Clark announced this week.
The Bellevue native was a four-year letterman and a 1999 UW graduate, earning first team all-conference and first team all-region honors his senior season. A two-time captain in 1997 and 1998, he led the Huskies to consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships and to a No. 1 ranking during the 1997 season.
Waibel was selected in the first round of the 1999 Major League Soccer draft and made his MLS debut in 2000. During his 10-year professional career he had stints with the Houston Dynamo, San Jose Earthquakes, and the Los Angeles Galaxy, winning four MLS Titles--two with the Dynamo and one each with the Earthquakes and the Galaxy. His four championship rings rank No. 2 in MLS History.
This won't be Waibel's first time giving back to the place he spent his collegiate playing days, volunteering as an as assistant coach for UW during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. After his playing career ended in 2010, Waibel was an assistant coach at Michigan.
Waibel feels extremely fortunate to have the chance to return to the Husky family as an assistant coach. "I now have the opportunity to give back to the program that afforded me the platform to graduate with a great degree and to have a successful playing career," says Waibel. "[Coming back] is a real treat."
Clark is looking forward to having Waibel on staff and believes he will make an excellent addition to the program. "Craig is an incredible person and coach," Clark said. "His personality will win over players and recruits instantly. The players that get to spend time with him will be better people and players as result."
The hiring of Waibel means the program must say goodbye to coach and fellow alum, Brandon Prideaux, who is leaving for a job outside of athletics. Clark shares his sentiment about Prideaux and the incredible impact he had on the program during his time here.
"Losing Coach Prideaux was blow to our program. Brandon, as a player, helped grow UW men's soccer into one of the top five programs in the country," Clark said. "The same characteristics of hard work and determination that allowed him to help make Washington a power, also allowed him to have an incredibly successful MLS career. When Brandon returned to UW as a coach, he held our players to the same standard which resulted in immediate results."
While Clark is sad to see Coach Prideaux leave, he believes that bringing back Waibel allows the program to replace one Husky legend with another.
"We could not be luckier to get another Husky alum back on campus that understands what it is to wear the Purple and Gold," Clark said.
Waibel feels honored to take over for his close friend, fellow recruit of the 1994 freshman class, and former roommate.
"I am proud to follow in Brandon's footsteps," said Waibel. "In his years at Washington he was a successful coach and tremendous ambassador for the program, qualities that I hope to uphold to the standard that he has left them."
The Huskies start the season hosting an exhibition event on August 16 against Simon Fraser at 7 pm. Their first regular season game will also be a home event against Gonzaga on August 24th at 5 p.m.