After nearly a decade, Idaho’s soccer program will be under new leadership. It was announced Thursday evening that Pete Showler, who’s led the program since 2005, will step down to take the position of Sporting Director at Eastside Timbers in Gresham, Ore.
Assistant Ashley O’Brien will take over in the interim, while the search for a new coach is conducted. Showler will officially step down on Jan. 1.
“The soccer program accomplished many things under Pete’s leadership,” Idaho Director of Athletics Rob Spear said. “We are disappointed to see Pete move on, but understand the tremendous opportunity awaiting him.”
Showler’s new job will bring him back to Oregon, his first home in the United States when he moved from England in 1999. At Eastside Timbers, a youth development program for soccer players ages 5 to 18 in the greater Portland area, Showler will oversee the development and implementation of curriculum for both the Competitive and Recreation programs. He’ll also do parent outreach to educate parents and players on the college recruiting process.
It was a decision Showler said was difficult to make, but an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s so tough leaving a good group of players and such a fantastic department,” Showler said. “That makes it so hard for decisions like this. But it’s an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down. It’s a phenomenal opportunity.”
In Showler’s departure, Idaho is losing its most successful soccer coach in program history. Taking over in 2005, Shower was handed a program that had never qualified for a conference tournament and had won only three games the prior season.
Showler had tough times after taking over, including a winless season in 2006. But it all culminated into success for him.
In 2010 Idaho qualified for its first ever conference tournament, making the Western Athletic Conference quarterfinals, where the Vandals fell to Fresno State. It was the end of a 14-7 season for Idaho that saw a regional ranking as high as No. 9.
Idaho’s 2013 season was a step backward, due to the program losing nine starters and over 10 seniors from the season before. The four-win season was the lowest win total since his winless season in 2008. Idaho still qualified for the conference tournament with a team featuring 11 true freshmen.
“We didn’t have the best season, but we have a talented group of players,” Showler said. “We’ve got some good recruits coming in on top of that. Hopefully, I’ve left it in a better place than I found it.”
Showler leaves the program as the longest tenured coach in program history and the program leader in career wins with 50. He said that he feels the program is in a good place, which is why he feels comfortable leaving.
“I’m happy for what I’ve been allowed to do here in terms of coaching, the many sports that I’ve come to know throughout my time here, the Vandal community and the community in Moscow,” Showler said.
Sean Kramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org