Graceland University freshman Gerardo Salgado came to Graceland specifically because of the soccer program. “I had heard about Graceland’s strong program and knew of their national championship; it helped to give Graceland the advantage when I was considering where I wanted to go to college.”
Salgado chose Graceland because of the legacy that has been building for more than a decade. Athletic programs gain strength and notoriety over time. Graceland’s soccer program is still benefitting from the highest victory won ten years ago.
The Graceland men’s soccer team won the NAIA National Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida, in 2006. Memories of the team’s victories, accomplishments and comradery have made a difference in the lives of each player, and subsequent teams have been encouraged by the hard work and success of the legendary 2006 Graceland Soccer team.
Head Soccer coach, Bryan Courtney states, “I’ve been a part of this program for over 20 years. As a student, core values were instilled in me at a crucial developmental stage of my life. Persistence, sacrifice, honesty and dedication were central themes that I absorbed. Most of all was a sense of belonging to something that was bigger than me and seeing the value in working together. Lifelong friendships were built upon solid foundations, and I still cherish them today.”
Where are some of them now?
- Filip Prostran ’09, outside midfielder, is now the head men’s soccer coach at Ryerson University.
- Edson Edwards ’11, forward, is playing professionally in Canada and hopes for a chance at the Canadian Men’s National Team.
- Santiago Ricaurte ’10, forward, is now a successful investment banker in Bogota, Columbia.
- Kevin Souter ’09, center midfield, is coaching a professional team in the lower divisions in Scotland.
- Isaac Unruh ’08, goalkeeper and MVP of the tournament, suffered a serious injury that has left him paralyzed from the waist down. Always a leader with a positive influence on others, Unruh is making strides in his rehabilitation.
- Brian Loving ’10, midfielder and Brine-NAIA Champions of Character Award
- Brett Loving ’07, center back, Defensive MVP of the Tournament is now a firefighter in the St. Joseph, Missouri, area.
- Ruben Ruelas ’09, right back, broke his leg in the tournament, which was a rallying point for the team. He went on to play professionally in Mexico.
- Stefan Delas ’10, left back, went on to play professionally first division in Finland.
- Brett Porter ’08, central midfielder, owns his own custom woodworking business in the Kansas City area.
- Matt Klaus ’09, left midfielder, works in health care insurance in Kansas City.
- Carlos Ortiz ’10, goalkeeper and All-American, continued with the Graceland soccer program.
- Hunter Re ’09, forward, is a finance manager for Farmers Insurance in Kansas City.
- Ivan Joseph ’96, head coach, is the Athletic Director for Ryerson University and has a Ted Talk about self-confidence that has almost six million views.
“I truly believe the success this program has sustained on the soccer field has been the result of the excellence that has been woven into the fabric of who we are and the values that we represent at Graceland.”
Bryan Courtney ’98