FOR SEVERAL YEARS, Kevin Sakuda waited for an opportunity to be a head coach. When that opportunity came along, he didn’t have to go far to seize it. It was just down the hallway.
This past fall, Sakuda took charge of Seattle Pacific’s men’s soccer team as the interim head coach. He was appointed to the position in late August after Mark Collings, who guided the Falcons for the previous 13 seasons, resigned to accept a coaching job at the University of Washington.
Sakuda served as the lead assistant coach for Seattle Pacific women’s team since 2017. In fact, the women’s soccer office, which he shared with head coach Arby Busey, is just a few steps away from the men’s soccer office on the third floor of Brougham Pavilion.
“It has been bittersweet in some ways just because I’m joining a new group, which means I’m leaving the women’s side,” he said. “But it’s an opportunity I’ve been wanting for years, to lead my own team and be a head coach.”
Sakuda had a nine-year professional career, including six seasons with United Soccer League’s version of the Seattle Sounders before that club made the move to Major League Soccer. He was a volunteer assistant with SPU women’s soccer for two years before being elevated to lead assistant.
From the time he was appointed to the interim men’s job, Sakuda had just a few weeks to prepare for the start of training camp and the early September season opener. That left him with a full plate of things to get done in a short period of time.
“It is what it is. I don’t know if there’s ever a perfect time,” he said. “In some ways, it forces me to just dive in and do it, and not overthink it. I’m in the process of connecting with all the guys. The first step is get to know them and let them get to know me.”
A product of Mission San Jose (California) High School, Sakuda lettered all four years on the Duke University men’s soccer squad before graduating in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in markets and management.
He was selected by San Jose in the third round, the 39th pick overall, of the 2002 MLS SuperDraft.
Former soccer coach Collings, in his 13 years at the helm, directed the Falcons to a record of 129 wins, 68 losses and 32 ties. They won back-to-back Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships in 2014 and 2015 and reached the NCAA Tournament five straight times from 2011 to 2015.