Greg Curry returns to UCSB soccer as an assistant

Standout defender replaces Leo Chappel, who takes a job in MLS

Former UCSB soccer standout Greg Curry will rejoin the Gauchos for the 2011 season as an assistant coach it was announced Tuesday by head coach Tim Vom Steeg.

Curry returns to the UCSB campus after spending three seasons as an assistant coach at Sacramento State. He replaces Leo Chappel, who accepted a coaching position of Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.

Curry, known as a tenacious defender, played on UCSB’s national championship team in 2006.

“We are excited to be able to bring back an alum who is very familiar with the expectations and tradition of the program,” Vom Steeg said. “His familiarity with my coaching style and knowledge of the type of player we want in the program will make this a very easy transition for the players and coaching staff.”

Curry was a four-year letterwinner at UCSB, competing for the Gauchos from 2003-07 (he redshirted the 2005 campaign). During his four years on the active roster, UCSB advanced to two College Cup finals and he started five games in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, including the semifinal and championship games. The onetime team captain helped UCSB post 41 shutouts and a combined 0.88 goals against average during his career. He was named to the UCSB All-Decade Team in December of 2009.

Following his collegiate career, Curry played with the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer, where he was a member of their reserve squad after being selected in the third round of the 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft. Injuries forced Curry to retire from playing in 2008.

“As a player, Greg was known for his tenacity and incredible will to win,” Vom Steeg said. “His leadership on and off of the field were key components to our success and have made him into the coach that he is today.”

While he was at Sacramento State, Curry helped guide the Hornets to a 31-20-12 three-year record, two consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances. They reached the second round each year.

Chappel has been a big part of UCSB’s success. He was an assistant on the first College Cup finalist team in 2004.

“This is a great opportunity for him (Chappel) professionally to work in Major League Soccer,” Vom Steeg said. “I know it was difficult for him to leave because of the players we have returning and the relationship he has with the incoming class, but at the same time, these opportunities do not come around very often.”