Spotlight

Rebels Add Two Signees In Fall Period

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – A pair of junior college players, Gabriel Claudio and Matthew Ridley, have signed NLI’s to play for the UNLV men’s soccer team starting in the fall of 2020, head coach Rich Ryerson announced Thursday.

Claudio is a JC transfer from Yavapai Community College where he played center back while helping the Rough Riders to a 15-4 record and a conference title in 2019. He was a first team All-NJCAA All-Region team selection while helping the Roughriders record ten shutouts and a 0.61 GAA. He also scored four goals and added a pair of assists for the season. A native of Yuma, Arizona, he was a three-time starting forward for a Cibola HS squad that finished third in the state tournament his junior year and was 30-7-3 overall during his final two seasons on the team. Coming into his senior season he was a two-time first team all-state selection and claimed conference Player of the Year honors in 2017. Claudio also spent two seasons on the football team, playing kicker, free safety and wide receiver. He earned City Player of the Year recognition and first team all-state honors as a junior in 2017 after setting every major receiving and touchdown record in Yuma County history. He also was a first-team all-state selection on defense as a sophomore. 

Ridley, a native of Hartlepool, England, played his first year of collegiate ball at Lander University where he helped them to a 16-2-3 record,  the South East Regional championship and a spot in the NCAA Elite Eight. Ridley played this past season at Richard Bland College, and was both team captain and an all-region first-team selection his sophomore season. While in school in England, Ridley was a center back for Hartlepool Sixth Form College’s squad and served as the team captain, including for the designated ECFA National team. He was named the school’s Athlete of the Year in 2018 while also earning Managers Player of the Year award.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our opportunity to reinforce our defensive unit with two JC transfers that will bring experience, maturity and a competitive edge to our backline,” said Ryerson. “Gabriel brings in a very humble and aggressive athletic style of defending, and I believe he will serve in multiple capacities for our defense. He is a a multi-sport athlete that has excelled at Yavapai, a very strong JC nationally ranked program. Matthew meanwhile will give us a huge presence in the back with his strong leadership communication skills and physique that will enable us to really challenge for a conference championship.”

Jenny Ruiz-Williams Chosen To Lead Women’s Soccer Program

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – Jenny Ruiz-Williams has been named the new head women’s soccer coach at UNLV, Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois announced Tuesday.

A former Rebel standout as a student-athlete from 2001-04, she returns to her alma mater after serving as an assistant coach at Cal State Northridge, then Oregon State.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Jenny rejoin the Rebel family and are thrilled to welcome back one of our own to begin her head-coaching career,” Reed-Francois said. “From our initial conversation, her passion for UNLV was evident. She personifies our core values and has the energy to build a championship program.”

This past season, Ruiz-Williams was instrumental in the Beavers’ success as they recorded their best mark in eight years (11-6-2). As part of a first-year coaching staff, she assisted in a remarkable turnaround as the team had its best start to a season in program history, going 8-0-0 after the 2018 squad finished with an overall record of 2-17-0.

Ruiz-Williams coached an OSU defensive unit that allowed just 19 goals over the course of the season, including only three during non-conference play. Under her leadership, the team combined for four consecutive shutouts for the first time since 2007. OSU had two Top 100 Freshman recognitions along with players selected to the National Team of the Week as well as National Player of the Week honors. Additionally, the team received the 2019 United Soccer Coaches’ Academic Award with a 3.42 grade point average.

“I want to thank Desiree for this opportunity,” Ruiz-Williams said. “She is an amazing leader and I am thrilled to work under her guidance. A huge thank you to my entire family for their never-ending support, and I would also like to thank Mallory Poole, Chris Pugh, the search committee, the UNLV Soccer Foundation and all of the wonderful people that I was blessed to interact with during this process.”

Ruiz-Williams also has served as a coach for the Real SoCal Soccer Club, a director and coach for the Nashville Football Club and she has worked as a selection and district training coach for the Tennessee Olympic Development Program and Player Development Program.

“I am blown away by the growth, innovation and camaraderie within the UNLV Athletics Department,” Ruiz-Williams said. “There is a new chapter being written in the history of UNLV Athletics and it is something you don’t want to miss out on.”

During her four-year playing career with the Rebels, Ruiz-Williams helped the team become one of the top defenses in the Mountain West and earned All-MW recognition twice. She was a part of the UNLV team that won a regular-season conference title and clinch its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004. She was also named to the All-MW Tournament squad as a senior. Prior to attending UNLV, she was a U-16 national champion and U-17 national runner-up.

“Jenny has great familiarity with youth soccer in California and throughout the West Coast, which will be invaluable for our program, and her tenacious spirit was unmatched through this process,” Reed-Francois added. “Thank you to Mallory (Poole) and Chris (Pugh) for their outstanding leadership during this search. We had a very strong pool of candidates.”

The seventh head coach in UNLV women’s soccer history, Ruiz-Williams competed for the Mexican National Team at the highest level, earning medals at three Pan American Games, qualifying for the Olympics and playing at the FIFA World Cup. Her professional career extended beyond her national playing time, completing stints with both the Bay Area Breeze (Women’s Premier Soccer League) and Seattle Reign FC (National Women’s Soccer League) before returning to the college game to begin her coaching career.

“Coming back to Peter Johann Memorial Field with the Rebels is truly a dream come true for me,” Ruiz-Williams said. “My husband and I are so grateful for the experiences we enjoyed as Rebel student-athletes and for the positive impact the university had on us. It is now my privilege to be able to serve the school, its amazing student-athletes and the incredible Las Vegas Valley community that I love so much.”

Ruiz-Williams earned her communications degree at UNLV in 2005 and also holds a master’s degree in education from Loyola Marymount (2007). She is also a licensed United States Soccer Federation National A- Senior Coach and a Regional Coach with the Olympic Development Program.

She is the sixth UNLV graduate in any sport to go on to become a head coach at the school and she is married to former UNLV swimming & diving student-athlete Kevin Williams. The couple has two children, Paige and Levi.

Mehlich Sets Record With Fourth Straight All-WAC Award

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – A pair of UNLV Rebels picked up season honors Tuesday night, as the Western Athletic Conference announced its postseason men’s soccer awards at the pre-tournament banquet in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Timo Mehlich was a first-team honoree while Billy Jones was an honorable mention selection.

Mehlich is the first Rebel to ever earn All-WAC honors four straight years, and the first Rebel to be named all-conference four years in a row since Sal Bernal was All-MPSF in 2010 and 2011 and All-WAC in 2012 and 2013. A senior midfielder and native of Mönchengladbach, Germany, Mehlich finished third in the conference with 11 goals on the season, and was fourth in total points with 23, both team highs. He had three multi-goal games during the season, starting with two goals in a minute span in a win at Pacific that earned him WAC Player of the Week honors. Mehlich also scored twice in the second half to rally UNLV past San Jose State for a 2-1 victory, while during his first career hat trick that came in a 4-1 win over Kansas City, two of his three goals came in a 63-second span.

Jones, a junior defender from Auckland, New Zealand in his first year with the Rebels after transferring from New Mexico, earned all-league honors despite missing the first three games of the WAC season while starting for the New Zealand Olympic Qualifying Team in an Olympic Qualifier tournament in FIJI. He helped his country earn a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, then came back to the team and promptly helped them to a four-game unbeaten streak. With Jones in the lineup, the Rebels went 4-3-1 in league play, as he anchored the Rebels’ defensive backline.

Goo Leads Rebels To 2-1 Victory At GCU To End Season

PHOENIX, Arizona (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV freshman Skyler Goo found the perfect night for his first two career goals, as he scored a goal in each half to give the Rebels a 2-0 advantage on the way to a 2-1 win at Grand Canyon in the season finale for both teams in WAC men’s soccer action Saturday night at the GCU Stadium.

Goo, who came into the night with one assist on the season, put UNLV ahead 1-0 in the 43rd minute on just the Rebels’ second shot of the game, while classmate Hayden Prasad assisted on the score. He then added to the lead in the 69th minute with his second score, thanks to an assist from sophomore John Lynam. 

The Antelopes closed within 2-1 in the 81st minute but that would be the final goal of the game. UNLV came away with the win despite having been outshot 17-5 for the game. Shots on goal however were just 6-4 in favor of GCU.

Season Finale For Rebels Saturday

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – The UNLV men’s soccer team looks to close out the season on a winning note when it travels to Arizona for a Saturday night contest at Grand Canyon. The game will tip off at 6 pm at GCU Stadium.

Saturday’s game will be available to watch through the WAC Digital Network, which will have live links on UNLVRebels.com and can also be watched through the Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and Android streaming devices. 

UNLV at Grand Canyon
Saturday, Nov. 9 – 6 pm (PT) – GCU Stadium (Phoenix, Arizona)

Women’s Soccer Head Coach Chris Shaw’s Contract Will Not Be Renewed

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV women’s soccer head coach Chris Shaw’s contract will not be renewed, Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois announced Thursday.

The Rebels compiled a 6-13-1 overall record during the 2019 season, including 2-8-1 in conference play. Shaw spent the last six seasons leading the program.

“We would like to thank Coach Shaw for his commitment to leading our soccer team over the last six seasons,” Reed-Francois said. “However, in evaluating the overall program, we have decided to move in a new direction.” 

Shaw’s contract expires on Dec. 31, 2019. A national search will begin immediately. 

Chris Shaw Career Head Coaching Record

Year     Overall     Conference
2014    9-8-2         4-6-1
2015    11-10        6-5
2016    16-4-3      8-1-2
2017    13-7         5-6
2018    11-6-3      5-4-2 
2019    6-13-1      2-8-1

Brooks Named Outstanding Rebel Of The Week

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV women’s soccer freshman Marcella Brooks was named the Outstanding Rebels of the Week, the school announced Wednesday.

The award goes to the student-athlete(s) who turned in the best individual performance during the previous week of competition from Monday through Sunday as voted on by the UNLV Athletic Communications department. The Las Vegas native earned the weekly honors after receiving MW Defensive Player of the Week. After UNLV’s top two goalies were lost for the season with injuries, the freshman midfielder moved to goalkeeper, playing the position in a game for the first time since the age of nine. In her two games as the Rebels’ goalkeeper, Brooks recorded back-to-back shutouts in a 2-0 win over UNR and a 1-0 victory over Southern Utah. She faced nine shots and came up with five saves in two matches, including four saves against the Wolf Pack. She took almost every free kick in the two games, and recorded an assist against UNR after placing a free kick 40-yards from goal, where it was headed in for a 2-0 lead to seal the game.

2019-20 Outstanding Rebel of the Week Award Winners
Sept. 4 – Shelby Capllonch, Volleyball
Sept. 11 – Shelby Capllonch, Volleyball
Sept. 18 – Timo Mehlich, Men’s Soccer
Sept. 25 – Alex Kobelt, Men’s Tennis
Oct. 2 – Mariena Hayden, Volleyball
Oct. 9 – Jack Trent, Men’s Golf 
Oct. 16 – Javin White, Football
Oct. 23 – Mariena Hayden, Volleyball
Oct. 30 –  En-Pei Huang and Izumi Asano, Women’s Tennis
Nov. 6 – Marcella Brooks, Women’s Soccer 

Bosch Earns MW All-Newcomer Honors

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV women’s soccer had one player receive Mountain West season honors Monday as freshman Lourdes Bosch was named to the MW All-Newcomer, the league office announced Monday.

Bosch, a Las Vegas native, tied for the team lead in goals this season with four, while her eight total points ranked her third overall. Both numbers were the highest of any freshman on the Rebel squad. One of her goals in league play came in the Rebels’ 2-0 victory over Colorado College She appeared in all 11 conference games and started eight for UNLV.

Brooks Named MW Defensive Player Of The Week

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV women’s soccer closed out its season on a winning note with two straight wins this weekend, and one of the key players behind those wins was honored Monday as freshman Marcella Brooks was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.

Brooks is normally a midfielder on the Rebels, but was pressed into service as the team’s starting goalkeeper after UNLV lost its top two goalkeepers to season-ending injuries the previous weekend. Playing the goalkeeper position for the first time in a game since the age of nine, Brooks played a big role in helping UNLV post a back of shutout victories, 2-0 over UNR (Nov. 1) and 1-0 over Southern Utah (Nov. 3) in the season finale. Against the Wolf Pack in a Silver State Series contest, Brooks faced nine shots and came up with her first four career saves. In the win over the SUU Thunderbirds, she was credited with one save as well.

The Las Vegas native also gave the Rebels a big weapon with her leg, as she took all of the Rebels’ free kicks in the first two-thirds of the field, sending a good number of them into the box. That included one in the 69th minute that Malika Markham headed into the box for an insurance goal to seal the 2-0 victory for UNLV, and Brooks was credited with an assist on the play.

Rebels End Season With Late Game Heroics

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – Though it didn’t show on the scoreboard, UNLV completely dominated Southern Utah Sunday afternoon in the Rebels’ 1-0 victory in women’s college soccer action from Johann Memorial Field. The Rebels closed out the regular season with back-to-back shutout victories to end the season on a winning note.

UNLV finished the game with a commanding 37-2 advantage on shots, and 20-1 on shots on goal. The Rebels also held ball possession for over 70% of the contest, but despite all the chances, could not convert a shot until the final minutes after earning a corner kick, one of 13 on the day. Katie Ballou sent her corner kick into the middle of the box where Jadyn Nogues leaped up and headed the ball into the back of the net for the score in the 86th minute. 

Freshman Marcella Brooks picked up her second shutout in as many games for the Rebels, recording one save on the afternoon.