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UCLA men’s soccer hires Tulsa’s Jose Robles as new assistant coach

UCLA men’s soccer’s new assistant coach, Jose Robles, crosses his arms. (Courtesy of Ross Turteltaub/UCLA Athletics)

By Anthony Aroyan

April 15, 2024 1:55 p.m.

This post is updated April 16 at 8:43 p.m.

A new face will appear on the Bruins’ sideline next season.

UCLA men’s soccer announced the hiring of former Tulsa associate head coach Jose Robles as the program’s newest assistant coach April 10. During his four-year tenure in Oklahoma, Robles and the Golden Hurricanes attained a 36-19-8 overall record and a third-round appearance in the 2022 NCAA tournament.

Following the opening of an assistant coach position in Westwood with the departure of Paul Killian, an assistant coach at UCLA since 2021, coach Ryan Jorden said Robles was a top candidate to join his staff.

“I specifically looked to have a conversation with Jose so that we could talk about his interest in coming to a place like UCLA,” Jorden said. “I just really enjoyed every conversation, and everything we had in mind about him really was validated in those conversations.”

Robles played as both a center back and central midfielder throughout his career. He played collegiately at Tyler Junior College and Belhaven, where he earned All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference honors in both of his years at the latter. Following his playing career, Robles began coaching at Tyler, then Southern Florida, Florida Atlantic, and finally Tulsa.

Robles said when Jorden’s call came, he knew it was only a matter of time before he arrived in Westwood.

“I was extremely happy at Tulsa. I really wasn’t looking to go anywhere, so it really caught me by surprise,” Robles said. “But UCLA, you know, those four letters, any time that kind of institution reaches out, it’s very hard to ignore. What stood out the most to me was the people. Ryan Jorden’s very passionate about what he does, the assistant coaches are very passionate, same as me.”

In the new world of NIL and the transformation of the collegiate recruiting process, scouting and player acquisition has become an increasingly important part of a coach’s job. Robles has demonstrated his ability to help recruit talented student-athletes at both Tulsa and his previous position at Florida Atlantic. Between 2020 and 2024, 16 Tulsa players received American Athletic Conference accolades and four of his recruits received All-Rookie team honors.

“He’s got a good recruiting network, and he’s consistently recruited top players,” Jorden said. “He’s got a nice affability to talk to recruits and do a good job on that front. Most importantly, he came highly recommended from a lot of people based on his quality and character.”

One example of a player recruited by Robles, is forward Alex Meinhard an Estonian international player. Meinhard recorded 40 goals in 105 appearances in the Esiliiga – Estonia’s second division professional league. After arriving in Tulsa in 2020, Meinhard was named the AAC’s Rookie of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. In 2022, Meinhard appeared on the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list and earned another all-conference team nod.

Following Robles’ introduction to the assistant coaching role, Jorden said Robles has already begun to make his mark on the team, leading training sessions and integrating himself with the players. Robles said he remains committed to positively impacting the Bruins, both on and off the pitch.

“I don’t just want to be on the coaching staff,” Robles said. “I’m looking forward to impacting the environment, the team, the coaching staff. I believe I have that in me. I think I can add a lot to this program.”

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Anthony Aroyan
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