Over the course of more than three decades, Ray Reid has left a lasting impact while coaching collegiate soccer, including four national championships, 41 MLS players produced, back-to-back No. 1 overall selections – Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union) in 2014 and Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC) in 2015 and 25 former players/assistant coaches currently coaching either collegiately or professionally.
Now the Brentwood native will add to his legacy. Last week the United Soccer Coaches Foundation announced the creation of the Ray Reid Family Fund, which aims at advancing the hiring of minority coaches throughout NCAA men’s soccer.
"I just really believe in this," Reid told Newsday. "I grew up in a very diverse environment and I’ve never seen color. But hopefully this will help create a chance to offer more opportunities to minority coaches."
Reid has benn head coach of the UConn men’s soccer program over the past 23 years, winning the national championship in 2000. He also won three Division II national titles (1990, ’92, ’95) at Southern Connecticut State University.
The fund is set to include an immediate $25,000 contribution, as well as a $75,000 estate gift, and will annually provide a minority collegiate coach a scholarship to attend either a United Soccer Coaches education course or the annual Convention.
Once Reid retires from coaching at the NCAA level, minority coaches at any level of the sport will become eligible to receive the scholarship.
"Ray Reid's generous donation to the United Soccer Coaches Foundation will enable the Foundation to support an annual educational coaching experience for a minority college coach," said Jeff Vennell, Foundation Committee Chair, in a press release. "It is a wonderful example of Ray's dedication to coaching, coaching education, and the fund makes an important statement during the current national environment."
A former player on Reid’s 2000 UConn team, Bryheem Hancock, currently the head coach at Radford University, said the scholarship is a strong reflection of Reid’s character.
"Coach Reid has been an ambassador in the pursuit of equal opportunity for all coaches regardless of your skin color, ethnicity or economic background. Coach has been a mentor to me with his hard work, dedication, passion and knowledge. This award will hopefully give a coach an opportunity to further grow in their coaching education. This speaks volumes of the person I already know Coach Reid is."
"This is extremely important for me to do this," Reid said. "So many people right now are talking about change. We have to stop talking about it and we have to start doing things to make change. Hopefully my donation will also motivate other people to help out and open some eyes."