Roughnecks FC begin rebuilding season

The Tulsa Roughnecks FC may turn a corner in 2017.

In the club’s sophomore season, the Roughnecks went 5-21-4 and finished dead last (15th place) in the USL Western Conference.  Changes were needed, and they came fast and furious once the sun set on the 2016 season.  First order of business was a new coach, David Vandereuil.  

Vandereuil replaces David Irving, who moved to the TRFC front office and into a new job title – Director of Football Operations/Technical Director.

Vaudreuil has a wealth of connections and contacts throughout the game of soccer thanks to a substantial amount of playing and coaching experience. The former defender and midfielder played several seasons in Major League Soccer with D.C. United, the Colorado Rapids and the Chicago Fire. He has appeared in 131 total MLS matches from 1996 through 2002.

After hanging up his cleats, After his playing days, Vaudreuil moved into coaching and has served in a number of roles, including a stint as head coach with the Atlanta Silverbacks in the old USL First Division.

Other coaching stints have included time as an assistant coach to Jay Heaps with the New England Revolution in the MLS and as the General Manager and Head Coach of the AC Milan USA Academy.

Vaudreuil also spent time under new USA National Team Coach Bruce Arena when he served as the head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy U-18 squad. In addition, he also played for Arena at D.C. United when the club won its first two MLS Cup titles.

His last stop before assuming the Roughnecks head coaching position was down the turnpike in Oklahoma City with Rayo OKC of the North American Soccer League, where he served as assistant coach.  Vaudreuil worked with Head Coach Gerard Nus, with the duo joining the team on August 1 during the league’s fall season. The pair helped the club recover from a four-match losing streak as Rayo finished the regular season on a ten-match unbeaten run that included a five-match winning streak to end the campaign.

“I am honored to be named Head Coach of the Tulsa Roughnecks, one of the iconic brands in American soccer history,” said Vaudreuil. “I look forward to working with Technical Director David Irving and club management to build a team that will capture the hearts of the Tulsa community and compete for championships in the USL and the US Open Cup.

“We have all the pieces in place to build an incredible franchise,” added Vaudreuil. “A stable and committed ownership group, a state of the art venue in ONEOK Field, and a first-class training facility in Titan Sports and Performance Center, and it will all help to attract international level players and staff.  I am truly excited to begin work on building a dynamic and skillful team with the desire to win games and championships while entertaining the fans.”

Vandereuil got to work immediately, attending the USL draft in January and securing the return of midfielder Brady Ballew and forward Cristian Mata, key elements from the previous two seasons of TRFC soccer.  He also secured two key signings of new players, defenseman Kosuke Kimura and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

The Roughnecks supporters known as the Roustabouts march to ONEOK Field from a rally on Guthrie Green. Photo: Jordan Suskind

The latest new out of ONEOK Field is the team’s first-ever affiliation with a Major League Soccer franchise.  The Roughnecks and Chicago Fire announced today that the two teams have entered into a partnership for the 2017 season with each club recognized as the other club’s affiliate.

As part of the agreement, the Fire will loan players to Tulsa for the upcoming USL season.  In addition, the two sides will look to work together on scrimmages and training opportunities while also partnering on ideas for best practices, both on the field and off.

TRFC Head Coach Vaudreuil played two seasons with the Fire during his professional career and worked to bring the two teams together.

“We are very pleased to have signed this comprehensive agreement with the Chicago Fire,” said Vaudreuil.  “The agreement is based on the personal relationships that we are building between the technical and executive staffs of both clubs as we strive to create the perfect environment for the highest level of professional soccer players.”

The Roughnecks are scheduled to open the 2017 USL regular season on Saturday, March 25 when they host the Colorado Spring Switchbacks at ONEOK Field.  A number of season ticket packages are currently on sale at RoughnecksFC.com or by calling the stadium ticket office at (918)744-5901.

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