STANFORD, Calif. – Hideki Nakada, a goalkeeper at University of San Francisco and in Japan’s J-League, has joined the Stanford women’s soccer coaching staff, head coach Paul Ratcliffe announced Monday.
Nakada replaces Jay Cooney, who spent 11 years at Stanford before leaving to coach goalkeepers with Sky Blue FC in the National Women’s Soccer League. Nakada arrives from University of Oregon, where he was the program’s defensive coach and recruiting coordinator last season.
At Stanford, Nakada will work with goalkeepers Jane Campbell and Sarah Cox, and incoming freshman Alison Jahansouz. He also will serve as Stanford’s scouting and video coordinator.
“It’s not too often you get to be a part of one of the very best universities in the world and one of the elite soccer programs in the country,” Nakada said. “I’m very fortunate.”
The son of a Portuguese mother and Japanese father, Nakada was born in Portugal, but grew up mostly in Gifu, Japan. His earliest soccer memories are of playing soccer in the streets in Portugal as a young boy. In Japan, Nakada was active in the Japanese youth national team system and attended a boarding school that doubled as a soccer training academy.
When his parents relocated to Davis, Calif., because of a business opportunity, Nakada remained in Japan for a time, but then moved to the United States despite not knowing any English, and spent his senior year of high school in Davis.
Nakada played goalkeeper at University of San Francisco in 2001-02 and graduated from the Hilltop with a degree in sociology in 2005. In between, he spent three seasons playing professionally in Japan, two with Omiya Ardija (2002-04) and one with Kyoto Purple Sanga (2004-05).
His collegiate coaching career began with three seasons at Idaho State, and continued with four at Marquette, and one at Oregon, where the Ducks conceded only 22 goals in 19 matches.
As a Marquette assistant, the Golden Eagles made four NCAA appearances and won a Big East title while earning 17 shutouts in one season, reaching the third round of the NCAA tournament. Natalie Kulla was the conference Goalkeeper of the Year and finished as the school record-holder in career shutouts (43) and goals-against average (0.74). While at Idaho State, the Bengals won Big Sky regular season and tournament honors to advance to the NCAA playoffs.
“I’m still young in my coaching career, and I’m hoping to learn how Paul and (assistant coach) Nicole (Van Dyke) do things,” Nakada said, “They’ve won a national championship and, like anybody in our profession, that is my ultimate goal. I would love to be part of that and help this program in any way possible.”
Ratcliffe said that the better he got to know Nakada, the more impressed he was.
“His knowledge of the game is tremendous,” Ratcliffe said. “He has a strong background as a player and a coach, and he fits in well with our coaching staff and players.”
It’s easy to see why. Nakada and Ratcliffe seem to share the same soccer philosophies.
“I truly believe that the best way to defend is to keep the ball,” Nakada said. “We’re a very possession style of team in general, but I think if you can play out of the back, keep the ball, and have our opponents chase you all over the place, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Nakada joins a Stanford team coming off a 15-6-1 season and an eighth consecutive NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance. He immediately will go to work. Stanford began its five-match spring season Saturday with a 3-2 victory over USF, thanks to three goals from freshman Ryan Walker-Hartshorn.
The Cardinal next plays Saturday, April 19, against visiting Nevada at 1 p.m. That will be Nakada’s first match on the Stanford bench.