Rick Titus has been named the new men’s varsity coach, a position previously held by coach Robert Brown for two seasons. Titus has big shoes to fill, with Brown now gone to spend more time with his family. Brown led UTM’s Men’s indoor team in 2015 to a Sheridan Invitational tournament win. He then led the team to even greater success in their inaugural season, taking them to the 2015 fall OCAA Provincial Championships.
One of the greatest benefits of playing OCAA varsity soccer is the move from the outdoor season to the indoor season. The men’s and women’s team can practice their skills and improve—something they want to do after a disappointing 2016 fall season. Coach Titus will now develop the young men in a competitive environment, allowing them to regain the confidence and skill they showed during the 2015 campaign. Last season, the men were riddled with injuries and inconsistent play during the second half. The current varsity men’s squad, which was hand-picked by Titus before the indoor season, is comprised of 14 first-year players and 10 second-years. The oldest player is the third-year captain, so the potential moving forward will draw serious attention in the years to come.
Titus reflects on the selection process before the indoor season, claiming that, alongside athleticism, a level of composure and intelligence is necessary for the team to do well in seasons to come. “It was interesting, as there are many factors to consider. The players at UTM need to maintain a higher level of education than their competition, so that can sometimes keep us from acquiring players that could help the program grow and be dominant on the field,” he says. “There are some very intelligent athletes at UTM, and I am hoping to utilize their intellect to propel them to a greater understanding of the game of football.”
UTM varsity program coordinator Jack Krist was thrilled that Titus has stepped in to take over the men’s varsity program. “Rick brings with him a wealth of knowledge, not only as a coach but as a player. He will be a great mentor to our young athletes, and I expect the players and the entire UTM soccer program to grow and excel under his leadership,” says Krist. “Rick also has excellent connections within the local, provincial, and national soccer clubs, which will help with the scouting and recruiting of top athletes to UTM.”
Before taking the position at UTM, Titus was the league 1 Ontario head coach for the North Mississauga Panthers. Titus was also an integral part of the Toronto FC academy as a head coach for the U14 and U16 academy teams. He was responsible for the recruitment of many of their academies’ top players, and as a head coach, his team won the Ontario Youth Soccer League division title, and were finalists in the OYSL championship.
Titus’ professional playing career included a game with Toronto FC and successful stints with Colorado Rapids, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Toronto lynx. Titus would go on to win Defender of the Year in 2000 and 2001 with the Vancouver Whitecaps, and again in 2002 with the Colorado Rapids. Titus also earned a position on the Trinidad and Tobago national team.
Titus sees this opportunity with UTM as another integral chapter in his illustrious soccer career. “The programs at UTM will grow and flourish if all of the right ingredients are in place. I am hoping to have the support of this great institution to provide us with the resources necessary to push our initiatives, and keep us growing and learning as a team. Both the women and men’s soccer teams have a great desire to provide UTM with very good varsity representation, and we are ready and willing to work with the faculty to make it happen,” Titus says. “I think a lot can be achieved if we have the support of the athletic department, and we are all working together to reach the top of our sport. This will take time, effort, and proper structuring to happen, but I feel we are headed in the right direction.”
The men will play in two more invitational tournaments before heading to their Regional Championships on March 8 at the OSA Centre, with potential for a birth in the Provincials on March 23 – 25 at Redeemer College in Ancaster.