Appalachian State University Men's Soccer- Joshua Joyce

Appalachian State’s Soccer was an elite first-class program throughout the 70’s and early 80’s in ranking among the NCAA’s top 25 for multiple years and even contending for a National Championship during one period of time. Its success came from an unknown hirer that obtained the job application of Appalachian State Universities Physical Education Teacher. Within the feeling role, Vaughn Christian accomplished an unusual task of not only creating a successful men’s soccer program from one that was barely adhering to win a single game, but instead, also establishing a dominate nature on the playing field by instilling new forms of recruitment that had never been witnessed before by an App State Coach. According to the article published in 2015, “Udogu, who would go on to win SoCon Player of the Year (POY), said Florida International University and Appalachian State University both recruited him in the early 70’s. When asked why Udogu chose Appalachian State over top tier soccer programs and powerhouses such as Clemson, Howard Universities and European Professional teams, he responded: “Because Christian came personally””. Throughout the years of becoming the head coach for the Mountaineers ahead of the ’71 season, head coach Vaughn Christian took on new forms of recruitment tactics such as traveling up and down the whole entire east coast from Maine all the way to Florida to secure top tier Nationally ranked players to come play at Appalachian State. He brought a personal uniqueness to the recruitment process by traveling in his free time and mostly during holidays with his family to visit top ranked players at different high schools and Juco-schools. These relations built strong and talented men soccer teams as players began choosing to come to Appalachian State. Christian was able to find Udogu through a friend that Christian went to school with at Vanderbilt University as he just so happened to be the Minister of Education for Nigeria, Africa. Knowing that most professional soccer players were foreign, Christian thought of this as the perfect moment to utilize a new form of international recruitment where his friend contacted him with some of the best soccer players from that region of Nigeria. I thought that this was an important aspect to pick up to describe and give clarity towards understanding that there was foreign diversity in the recruitment of players such as Udogu that was seen on campus and on the sporting fields at Appalachian State in the 70’s. Knowing Appalachian States long clear history of struggle in their diversity of student’s ethnic, racial, and cultural population on campus, this is a huge moment for App State to have such an amazing athletic star on their soccer playing field. In a time when this recruitment style was not of such popularity to school sizes such as App, it is a very key moment in cultural and racial diversification through university campus life and athletic programs.

-Joshua Joyce