Former Pilot and current men's soccer assistant Emory hopes to establish team as national contender

By Ben Arthur | October 10, 2016 6:28pm

by Kristen Garcia / The Beacon

Logan Emory felt like a chicken with its head cut off. He didn’t know where to go. He didn’t know where to run.

The 2009 Pilot men’s soccer team had just won the opening round match of the NCAA Tournament against New Mexico, 2-1. It was a game that they weren’t supposed to win. They’d barely squeezed into the tournament field. The Lobos had dominated the whole game and Portland was playing on their turf.

Yet, Emory still found a way to claim possession of the ball off a New Mexico corner kick. He hit a teammate sprinting up midfield, who beat the back line of the defense to net a goal in sudden death.

Chaos and excitement morphed into one. Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” filled the air in the hours following the game.

These are the memories that Emory cherishes looking back on his career on the Bluff. He’s grateful for the relationships he built with his teammates. He wanted to leave the Portland program in a better position than when he arrived. And he achieved his goal.

At the time, the team’s last run in the tournament in 2007 ended in a first round exit.

“I’m extremely grateful for my time at the University of Portland and I think it was an experience that was really life changing for me,” Emory said.

Emory helped lead the Pilots men’s soccer team to its last NCAA Tournament berth, a run which ended in the Sweet 16. He appeared in 81 games for Portland from 2006 to 2009, netting five goals and two assists. Today, he mans the sidelines as an assistant for the team. He calms players down when they get heated or emotional. His eyes are glued to the pitch during games, scanning all around to make sure everyone is in the right position.

He’s still learning though. He’s an inexperienced coach. But his time as a student-athlete on The Bluff taught him to operate at a high standard. In the classroom, it was getting to class on time and being a good student. On the turf, bringing the intensity consistently. So Emory conducts himself as a professional on the sideline.

He began his professional career in Puerto Rico after graduating from UP in 2009. After two seasons in the Caribbean, he fulfilled a lifelong dream in playing Major League Soccer. He signed with Toronto FC in 2012 and suited up two seasons for the club to become the first Idaho-born MLS player.

Emory retired in 2015 to become the men’s head soccer coach at his alma mater, Centennial High School, in Boise. He also worked for his former club team where he maintained a job as an accountant to make ends meet as he adjusted to the coaching realm.

When Nick Carlin-Voigt was named the head men’s soccer coach in March, Emory was one of the first people to congratulate him. They stayed in touch over the months that followed and at the recommendation of a mutual friend, Voigt offered him an assistant position in August.

Division I coaching has brought a steep learning curve for Emory. It requires a larger time commitment off the turf. Administrative work needs to be done. Scheduling, recruiting and making travel arrangements are part of the package.

But Voigt believes Emory is exactly where he should be in his progression to the college coaching ranks.

“Logan is in that transition now of starting to understand what it takes to be part of a successful program without even going on the soccer field,” Voigt said.

Emory the coach mirrors Emory the former player.

He goofs around with the players in down time and warm ups, but as soon as the whistle blows, he flips the switch. He’s all business. He turns into the fierce competitor that defined him as a defender.

But Emory also serves as a mentor to current players. He dishes out advice that he wishes he’d received when he was coming up. He gives the players hugs when they need support.

Freshman midfielder Rey Ortiz sees him as a big brother.

“[The players] can relate to him because he’s been in our shoes,” Ortiz said.

The men’s soccer program has fallen out of the national spotlight in recent years. They haven’t made the NCAA tournament since Emory’s senior year seven years ago. Emory hopes to help Voigt bring the team back to prominence. But he doesn’t want the team to just aspire to make it back to the Sweet 16. He believes their sights should be on the tournament every year.

He wants UP men’s soccer to be a perennial powerhouse.

“I want players to come from where I come from to be more successful than I was,” Emory said.

This way, the program will be in a better position than when he returned.