W. Soccer's Friesen signs 5-year extension
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W. Soccer ready for NCAAs and UCLA
Bio entering 2017 season.
After spending three years as an assistant on the San Diego State coaching staff, including two as associate head coach, Mike Friesen enters his 11th season as the Aztecs' head coach.
Friesen enters the 2017 campaign with the highest winning percentage in school history after compiling a 122-64-27 (.636) record in his first 10 seasons as head coach. In fact, he is the only SDSU head coach with a winning percentage above .600 and is one win shy of setting the program record, which is currently held by Chuck Clegg (122-81-8). In his time at the helm, Friesen has led the Aztecs to four NCAA tournament appearances and eight Mountain West titles (four tournament, four regular season), including four outright regular-season crowns in the last five years.
In the summer of 2017, Friesen was listed among the nation's top Division I women's soccer head coaches by All White Kit's CoachRank 2017. Friesen checked in at No. 14 out of 236 head coaches on the list. All White Kit's CoachRank is a data-driven, objective system of measuring coach performance over a long period of time, which is defined as three years or more at one school. The ranking includes multiple factors such as overall performance, conference tournament effort and NCAA tournament results and the data used for the ranking goes as far back as 2009.
Under Friesen's guidance, the program, which focuses on the process, has made strides into becoming a rising power not only in the West, but nationally. Leading up to and during the 2012 campaign, a major focus for the team was the "process" in becoming great and being a champion. Friesen and his staff's philosophy proved fruitful for the squad as they quickly became one of the top teams in country.
The 2012 campaign was a direct result of the "process" and just a small step in the right direction as SDSU enjoyed the finest season in school history after the Aztecs captured the Mountain West regular-season and tournament titles, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first-time ever, shared the best record nationally at 21-2-1 (7-0 MW), and finished the year ranked seventh nationally after rising to as high as third.
Team success breeds individual awards and 2012 was no exception. Friesen helped senior Megan Jurado become San Diego State's first All-American since 1998, and that was after the forward was named MW Offensive Player of the Year. Jurado was one of five Aztecs to earn all-region accolades (Rachel Boaz, Jurado, Haley Palmer, Tiffany Hurst, Carli Johnson) and one of six to land on the all-MW team (Hurst, Johnson, Jurado, Hannah Keane, Palmer, Rachael McGlinchy). Palmer, meanwhile, was the MW Defensive Player of the Year, and Friesen, for the second time, garnered conference coach-of-the-year honors.
The formula continued to work in 2013 as the Aztecs (13-7-2; 9-1 MW) won the Mountain West regular-season and tournament titles for the second year in a row and made their second straight NCAA appearance.
SDSU, once again, collected a ton of hardware, starting with Haley Palmer's second consecutive MW Defensive Player-of-the-Year award. The senior was also a first-team all-league and NSCAA all-Pacific Region choice. Hannah Keane, meanwhile, was a first-team all-MW selection, third-team all-region performer and MW tourney MVP after scoring a team-high 28 points (12 g, 4 a) to establish herself as the top offensive threat in the league. Victoria Barba (NSCAA all-region, first-team all-MW), Carli Johnson (NSCAA all-region, first-team all-MW) and Kelsey Booth (first-team all-MW) also won individual awards for San Diego State.
In 2014, the Aztecs continued their winning ways, putting together a 14-game streak that saw them go 12-1-1, which included eight consecutive victories to help San Diego State open Mountain West action with a 7-0 record. SDSU eventually won its third straight regular-season crown before capturing its third MW tournament championship in a row en route to yet another NCAA tournament berth. With its third straight sweep of the Mountain West titles, San Diego State became just the third conference school to accomplish the feat. The Aztecs had their season end in double overtime in the first round of NCAAs to finish their year at 15-5-2 (9-2 MW).
Individually, Friesen helped the senior trio of Kelsey Booth, Haley Locker and Katie Perry earn all-MW first-team accolades, while senior Hannah Keane and freshman Stacie Moran were named to the second team. Perry, meanwhile, was named the MW tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tourney squad by Locker and juniors Ashley Hauke and Melanie Vaughn.
In 2015, the winning continued as SDSU compiled a 15-4-1 record and ended the season on 12-game unbeaten streak, which included 11 straight wins, en route to its fourth consecutive outright MW regular-season title after posting a 10-1 mark inside the league. The Aztecs made history with their fourth straight outright crown, becoming the first school in the 17-year history of the conference to accomplish the feat.
For its record-setting season, SDSU had three players earn MW first-team accolades (Moran, Milan Moses, Leah Pruitt - MW Freshman of the Year), three land on the second team (Barba, Angela Mitchell, Vaughn) and three on the honorable mention list (Hauke, Jen Rupey, Aliyah Utush).
Last season saw San Diego State stumble out of the gate, but close the schedule with a 10-3-4 effort, which helped land the Aztecs in the Mountain West title game for a fifth straight year. SDSU's sixth consecutive 10-win season gave the program 84 wins, which were the most over any six-year stretch in school history.
Barba and Moran were both named to the NSCAA all-Pacific Region and all-Mountain West squads. Joining the duo on the all-conference team was Utush.
Prior to the record-setting 2012 club, the Sonoma State graduate coached a 2011 team that finished 10-7-3 overall and allowed just two goals in Mountain West play en route to a 4-1-1 record. At season's end, a school-record seven Aztecs earned All-MW honors. Redshirt senior Cat Walker, redshirt junior Tiffany Hurst, junior Megan Jurado, redshirt sophomore Sophie Metz and sophomore Haley Palmer were named to the all-MW first team, while sophomore Kory Spotts and redshirt freshman Rachel Boaz landed on the all-MW second team.
In 2010, San Diego State finished 8-10-3 overall after playing one of the most difficult schedules in America which featured games against six teams in the top 20, including three top-10 squads. The Aztecs finished strong, going 5-2 in Mountain West action and allowed more than one goal twice in their final 10 outings. At the end of the season, senior Michaela DeJesus and junior Megan McQueeny were named to the all-MW first team, while Haley Palmer was tabbed as the league's freshman of the year. Palmer, who was also a second-team all-MW performer, was joined on the second team by senior Aubree Southwick and freshman Soledad Gomez.
In 2009, Friesen guided San Diego State to one of the best seasons in school history. SDSU finished with a 15-4-5 record, the school's best mark since 1998 and the most victories since 1999. After going 3-3-1 to start the year, Friesen's Aztecs went on a 16-game unbeaten run, including winning their final eight to propel them into the second round of the NCAA tournament. During its magical run, San Diego State went unbeaten in Mountain West play (5-0-2) for the first time in school history, won the school's first MW tournament title, earned the program's first NCAA tournament berth since 1999, and defeated cross-town foe San Diego to record its first NCAA tournament victory since 1998. All of this led to San Diego State becoming the sixth-most improved team in NCAA Division I, while its nine-win improvement was tied for second best in the nation.
Following the conclusion of the conference campaign, Friesen became SDSU's first head coach to be named Mountain West Coach of the Year. He was not the only Aztec to garner awards as he helped Walker, Aubree Southwick, Megan McQueeny, Michaela DeJesus and Niki Fernandes all pick up postseason awards.
In 2008, Friesen and San Diego State enjoyed one of its best offensive seasons in recent memory scoring 32 goals, the most in one year since 2002. The offensive production led to many early-game leads, but with a youthful team and a season-ending injury suffered by starting goalkeeper Aubree Southwick, San Diego State was unable to hold off opponents en route to a 6-10-3 record.
Despite a subpar season, Friesen helped Walker and Jessica Gordon earn all-Mountain West honors. Under Friesen's tutelage, Walker had a team-high 10 goals and 23 points to earn first-team accolades, while Gordon was named to the second team after finishing with five goals and 12 points.
In his first year at the helm of SDSU women's soccer, Friesen led the Scarlet and Black to a runner-up finish in the MW with a 4-2-1 record, marking the Aztecs' most league wins since the 2000 campaign. After the successful season, Friesen had four players earn all-conference honors, including Southwick, who became the first player in MW history to earn two individual awards when she was tabbed the defensive player of the year and freshman of the year. Southwick also became the fourth Aztec in school history, and first since 2000, to be named to the Soccer Buzz freshman All-America team.
Friesen, the fourth head coach in SDSU history, has played a significant role in bringing excitement back to Aztec soccer. Over the past nine seasons, Friesen's offense has combined to score 268 goals, including 47 in 2014, which is the highest total since San Diego State scored 52 goals in 1999.
Friesen teamed with former Aztec head coach Dr. Mike Giuliano to bring an up-tempo, in-your-face style of defense, which was successful as evidenced by the team's 12 shutouts in 2004, the second most in school history. The Aztecs allowed just 18 goals in 21 games that season, the program's fewest since the 1990 squad gave up 12 goals in 13 games. SDSU, which surrendered just three goals in MW action, also had a stretch of five-plus games where it went 595:44 without allowing an opponent to score. The stellar season culminated in the Aztecs' first appearance in the MW championship game since 1999. Friesen helped with the development of four 2004 all-conference selections, including MW Defensive Player of the Year Alexis Solovij.
Prior to coming to San Diego State, Friesen spent five years working with the UC Santa Barbara women's program.
Friesen's responsibilities with the Gauchos included coaching the team's offense, recruiting, community outreach and academics.
Upon arriving in Santa Barbara, Friesen helped turn the Gaucho program around, going from a 7-29-2 mark and scoring just 27 goals the two seasons prior to his arrival, to a 24-11-6 mark in 2002-03, tallying 105 scores. Friesen also was integral in signing and developing three straight Big West Conference offensive players of the year in Jennifer Borcich in 2001 and 2003 and Krystal Sandza in 2002.
Friesen has a great deal of experience coaching at a variety of levels. Before his time at UCSB, he guided the under-19 Santa Rosa United Aftershocks to the 1999 girls' California State Cup championship. In 1997, he directed Ursuline High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., to the CIF North Coast Section championship game.
As a student-athlete, Friesen was an offensive standout at Point Loma Nazarene (1988-89) and Sonoma State (1993-94). He played two years for the Sea Lions before transferring to Sonoma State, where he was a member of an NCAA Division II quarterfinalist squad in 1993. Friesen was also the second-leading scorer in the Northern California Athletic Conference as a senior.
Friesen completed his degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in biomechanics in 1996, before continuing his soccer playing career with the North Bay Breakers of the USISL. The Breakers reached the regional finals in the team's final year of existence. For the next several seasons, he played for Juventus in the California Premier Soccer Alliance before signing with the Greek Americans Soccer Club, based in San Francisco, which won two U.S. Open Cup championships in the 1990s.
Friesen and his wife Jamie, who was a former basketball letterwinner at UCLA, have a son, Cole Jamey (14), and a daughter, Emily Mychael (11).