Roeper Soccer Team Circa 1995 – Mike Ruddy, far right
In 1972, in his first year attending Wayne State University as a part-time student, Mike Ruddy learned that his High School Alma Mater, Notre Dame High School, didn’t have a club soccer team, so he volunteered to form one and coach. That experience was followed by coaching youth soccer in the spring of ’73 and completion of the rigorous U.S. Soccer Federation Coaching Certification, making him a USSF A Licensed Coach! (There are very few coaches at this level.) In 1974, Ruddy transferred to Oakland University as a full time student where he played on the O.U. Soccer Team.
Ruddy remembers that he had entered O.U. following a string of “not so successful” jobs. He and then girlfriend, Jarie Saad, (married in 1976) got to talking, which led to a life-changing discovery by Jarie. In the evening newspaper was an advertisement for a private School in Bloomfield Hills seeking a soccer coach. Ruddy honestly thought it was a joke, since not that many schools even had a soccer team in the area.
He called however, and soon found himself face to face with George Roeper. Roeper had recently determined that the school couldn’t sustain their fledgling, albeit successful, Football program with the number of students enrolled, and he had recently heard about “Club” Soccer. Roeper wanted to make a “real” team, however, and Ruddy was his man. The original idea had been for a boys’ soccer team, but the girls wanted to play too and… they wanted their own team. For the record, this was the FIRST Girls’ Soccer Team in the State – a proud honor for Ruddy. And, on the topic of honors, we should also note that Ruddy was the Head Coach for the prestigious University of Michigan Men’s Club Soccer Team 1987-1990.
This fall, Coach Ruddy will again be at the helm of the Roeper Girls Varsity Soccer team as Head Coach. With a reasonable core of US players, supported by a good incoming 8th grade class, Ruddy is looking forward to a solid year, effectively working together to build basic skills to function as a team.
Over the years, Ruddy said he has become more relaxed with expectations and intensity. He is less interested in results and more about the process. The goal is to “work hard and try to improve – that effort is rewarding in and of itself. I think that is what all coaches want.”
Ruddy indicated that he is “happy to have been with the program from the beginning and to still be in contact with players since that time. It’s exciting to see kids, babies and grandchildren coming through.” Ruddy is also happy with the relationship that Roeper has established with Ultimate Soccer. “After years of insufficient practice fields (barring St. James), it is amazing to have great fields to practice and play on.”
You can read more about Coach Ruddy and all of Roeper’s Coaching Staff by going to: