Gauchos add O’Brien, Baiden to staff

Former UCSB All-American Ciaran O’Brien is returning to the Gaucho men’s soccer team as an assistant coach.

O’Brien was the Big West Midfielder of the Year and a College Soccer News All-American in 2007, posting seven goals and 11 assists that year. In 2008, he was the first Gaucho to be taken in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, going fifth to the Colorado Rapids. He played seven seasons of professional soccer.

O’Brien will be joined on coach Tim Vom Steeg’s staff by Fifi Baiden, considered one of the best holding midfielders in UCSB history. He returns to the team after being drafted No. 42 overall in the 2013 MLS Superdraft by the Columbus Crew. A two-time All-Big West selection, he was known as one of the top defensive players in the country during his time in blue-and-gold.

The Gaucho soccer team announced other staff changes.

Long-time assistant Greg Wilson is being promoted to Associate Head Coach and Greg Curry moves up to the first assistant coach position.

Wilson is in his ninth year at UCSB.

“Greg Wilson was an integral part of our 2006 National Championship and has been a key component of this program ever since stepping on campus,” said Vom Steeg. “This move is both timely and well-deserved. Likewise, Greg Curry has been an important part of our success as a program, particularly on the recruiting side, where he has continually put together top-10 classes. We’re also excited to bring back two great players in Fifi and Ciaran. Both excelled at the technical side of soccer during their playing days and their ability to convey that to our current group of student-athletes will be invaluable to our program.”

Wilson has been one of the main figures in UCSB soccer’s impressive community involvement, regularly organizing tournaments, camps, and special events such as the popular “AYSO Skills Day” which has consistently drawn over 1,500 local youth players. His management of successful initiatives such as the UCSB Community Coaching Program and ballboy program have helped the Gauchos connect with Santa Barbara and lead the NCAA in attendance for eight consecutive years.

A member of the 2006 National Championship squad, Curry is entering his fifth year on staff. One of the top recruiters in the country, he has turned in nationally-ranked recruiting classes in every one of his seasons at UCSB, including back-to-back top-five classes in 2013 and 2014.

UCSB has also added athletic trainer Andrew Shibata and Community Outreach Coordinator Kayla Grosset to the soccer staff.

The Gauchos open the regular season Friday at 7:30 p.m. against No. 8-ranked Stanford, which includes U.S. National Team player Jordan Morris. The game is part of a doubleheader at Harder Stadium. The UCSB women play San Jose State at 5 p.m.

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