Two Hundred Wins and Counting for Pepperdine Soccer Coach

Add one more notch to Tim Ward’s victory belt.

The Pepperdine women’s soccer coach claimed another win on Saturday as the Waves, ranked 10th in the NSCAA women’s soccer poll, defeated the No. 13 Wisconsin at home. 

The win put Ward’s career victory tally at 202 wins and came a week after the Waves won their 200th game with Ward as the head coach. 

Pepperdine’s head coach of 18 seasons said winning over 200 games in his career is an honor. 

“I feel like I am just getting started,” Ward said. “It’s taken me this long to know what I am doing, and I am getting better at it.” 

Pepperdine also received its first loss of the season during the weekend. The Waves were defeated by Iowa State on Sunday. 

The 3-1 Waves secured Ward’s 200th victory by beating CSUN 1-0 on Aug. 21. 

Ward has been Pepperdine’s soccer head coach since 1998. He has coached the Waves to 12 double-digit winning seasons. Adding all the victories up makes the 1989 Agoura High School (AHS) graduate and former Cal Lutheran University (CLU) soccer standout one of the most successful coaches in Pepperdine’s history. 

Ward said he had forgotten he was close to reaching the double centennial mark until he was reminded of it. He said he thought he grabbed the landmark victory last season when the Waves beat USC in the NCAA tournament. However, that win was officially counted as a tie due to Pepperdine securing the victory in an overtime shootout.

“I really don’t dwell on such things,” he said. “When I am done coaching, I will look back at it, but right now I am just focused on winning the next game.” 

Pepperdine’s next contest is a home match against Toledo on Sept. 4 at 3 p.m. Toledo is 1-3 this season, and they are coming off a 7-0 loss to Kentucky. 

Pepperdine defeated Wisconsin 2-0 last weekend. Senior Courtney Assumma scored in the 27th minute of the first half, and freshman Michele Maemone scored her first career goal two minutes later. 

A second period-goal propelled the Iowa State Cyclones to 1-0 victory over the Waves one day after Pepperdine beat Wisconsin. 

Pepperdine’s season-opening win over CSUN was sealed when junior Kristen Rodriguez buried a penalty kick into the side of the net to get the 1-0 win. Junior Taylor Alvarado scored a goal in the 92nd minute of play to give Pepperdine the win over North Carolina State on Aug. 23.

Pepperdine’s winning start to the season follows a year in which the Waves went 16-3-4 and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA soccer tournament where they fell to No. 1 ranked UCLA. Ward was named the NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year at the close of the 2014 season. 

Ward said that this season, the Waves — who only have three seniors — have so far stepped up in big moments on the field

“We have a young and talented squad,” he said. “Our schedule is daunting. That is fine; you recruit women that want to come to Pepperdine and be challenged on the national stage.”

The coach said the Waves rarely talk about wins and losses. 

“We talk about being excellent in the moment,” he said. “We believe if we have a lot of moments of the excellence, the cumulative effect of that will be the result we desire.” 

Ward said his admiration for some other coaches across the country has nothing to do with the number of wins they have. 

“It has everything to do with the way they conduct themselves, their character, the way they treat the young men and women they are entrusted with,” he said. “I am a competitive person by nature. I enjoy winning, but I have no problem putting up our very best effort and coming up short.”

Ward’s journey to 200 wins started when he was a star soccer player at AHS and then CLU in Thousand Oaks. During his time at CLU, Ward coached the junior varsity team at AHS. He coached the varsity team for a season after graduating college. 

Ward became an assistant coach at Pepperdine in 1994 under George Kuntz, his former coach at CLU. After four seasons on the staffs of Kuntz and Kenny Dale, Ward became Pepperdine’s head coach in 1998.

Ward has since coached Pepperdine to 14 winning seasons in the past 17 years and has earned West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors three times and picked up two NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year honors.

Ward said when he first became a head coach, he thought he was going to outwork everyone else in his profession. He said his coaching philosophy changed in 2001 when he became a Christian and he and his wife, Shelby, had their first child, Abby. 

“I realized what these parents are entrusting into my hands. To this day, it is never lost on me that is it somebody’s daughter that I am coaching,” Ward said. “When I became a Christian I realized God already has the result. He knows everything.”

The coach continued, “I am trying to honor those people with my coaching performance and do the very best on the day. At the end of the day, God knows best.” 

Ward said he has been blessed to teach some extraordinary student athletes throughout the years, including this season. 

“I think we have the kind of talent on any given day [that] we can beat anybody in the country,” he said. 

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