WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University Athletics Department announced today that Pedro Braz has been named the new head coach of the men's soccer program as announced by Athletic Director Michael Weinstock.
"We are excited to welcome Pedro to the Gallaudet athletics department as our new men's soccer head coach," said Weinstock. "Pedro brings a winning attitude and a vast soccer experience as a coach, player and student-athlete that will benefit our future GU men's soccer student-athletes. He is motivated to build our men's soccer program from scratch. I was really impressed with his soccer IQ and vision during the interview process. We look forward to seeing what Pedro can build here for years to come."
Braz will begin his duties in a part-time capacity now until mid-November when he joins the GU athletics department full-time. There will be non-traditional practices in spring of 2015 before the program returns to varsity status in fall of 2015. The Gallaudet men's soccer program last competed at the varsity level in the fall of 2012 where the Bison posted a 3-13 overall record and 1-9 in North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play.
"I think Gallaudet will challenge me not just as a coach but also as rebuilding a program from the ground up. I work better when I am challenged," said Braz. "I started a program at Montgomery College where they weren't doing too well but we got them turned around pretty quickly. We got them to a point where we were not only winning regional championships but also competing for national championships."
Braz is currently the head men's soccer coach at Montgomery College, a position he has held for the past three seasons, where his team is 7-2-1 through 10 games this season. Last year, Braz guided Montgomery to a 22-2 record and a No. 2 ranking in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Men's Soccer Division III national poll.
The Montgomery Raptors advanced to the national semifinals after it won the Region XX for a second year in a row. The year before Montgomery went 19-4-2 and made it to the NJCAA Division III national championship game where it lost to Herkimer County in double overtime.
"I have been at numerous [soccer] programs as a student-athlete, player and collegiate coach and they were winning programs and some that struggled. So I have seen it both ways," said Braz. "I know what it takes to get to a championship level. I will emphasize the student in student-athlete. If you do well in school you can excel on the soccer pitch. I am looking for a complete student-athlete."
Prior to joining Montgomery College he was an assistant coach for three seasons at Dean College where he handled recruiting and prepared and assisted all training sessions for the NJCAA Division I program.
Braz is a graduate of University of New Hampshire where he earned his degree in sociology and a minor in sport studies in 2007. He was a four-year starter for the Wildcats where he was a defender, played in 59 games and had five assists and was co-captain his senior year. In 2005, he anchored a defense that was ranked No. 4 in Division I for goals against average (0.57 per game) and was No. 7 in shutout percentage (0.59 per game). The Wildcats climbed to No. 23 in the national polls that season as they posted a 9-5-3 mark.
After his playing days at New Hampshire, Braz trained with his native Angola national team for a month in the fall of 2007. He then played for Primeiro D'agosto/1ro D' Agosto- Angola's Premier League (Level 1) for three months before joining Gigantes de Carolina FC, member of the Puerto Rico Soccer League First Division, in 2008. He completed his professional playing career in 2009 when he suited up for the Western Massachusetts Pioneers, member of the United States League Division 2, in 2009.
Braz has also been active coaching or running soccer summer camps at University of New Hampshire, Brown University, Dean College and Montgomery College over the years.
Braz holds a "C" coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation and is a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He currently resides in Washington, D.C.
"At the end of the day we want to compete for conference championships here at Gallaudet University and hopefully make the NCAA tournament," said Braz.
Coach Braz can be reached at email@example.com or at 401-787-5193 if GU students have questions or are interested in trying out for the men's soccer program.