Mitch Murray

Director of Scouting and Player Recruitment

Murray joined the Rapids in February of 2010 as the Development Academy Technical Director and since has assumed the role of Director of Scouting and Player Recruitment.

Mitch Murray is a soccer lifer. From his childhood as a student attending a British school in Benghazi, Libya, where his Dad was in international business, to his playing days at San Francisco State, everything pointed to a future in coaching.

The holder of Class A, B and C soccer coaching licenses from the Deutscher Fussball-Bund, (Germany), Murray coached 16 years at the University of Santa Clara. Now he’s working with the pros, but still doing what he likes best - finding that diamond in the rough, who has what it takes to play in Major League Soccer.

Growing up in Sunnyvale, Calif., the son of John Murray and Rita Dominguez, the family moved to the USA when he was 11. After playing nothing but soccer and cricket in school at his father’s foreign work post locations, young Mitch was the proverbial kid in the candy store of American sports.   

After college, Mitch went to Europe and tried to play soccer professionally in Switzerland with the Geneva-based club, Servette.

During the off-season he went to Germany and began what became three years of immersion in the Germans’ well-known, methodological approach to coaching soccer. The “A” course was four weeks (early morning until late at night) of written course work and field training, followed by two weeks of exams.

Murray had some of the world’s best instructors during that period, including Karl-Heinz Heddergott, Berti Vogts, Bert Trautmann and Holger Osieck.

In 1980, he returned from Germany to northern California and met George Avakian, soccer coach at Foothill Community College in Los Altos Hills, Calif., and when Avakian learned that Murray had his German coaching licenses, he offered him one of his two assistant coaching positions. The other was held by Steve Sampson (who 18 years later would coach the USA in the 1998 World Cup). 

In 1984, Murray accepted an assistant coaching position at San Diego State University under Chuck Clegg, a position he held for two years. But by the end of the 1985 collegiate season, he was thinking about leaving coaching.

Thus began his 16-year tenure at Santa Clara (assistant coach from 1986-90 and head coach from 1991-2002).

Murray took teams four times to the NCAA Division 1 Final Four (three times to the final game), but never won it outright. But in 1991, his first as head coach at Santa Clara, he hit the jackpot with a team that included twin brothers Cam and Matt Rast, both of whom went on to play at national team level. That ’91 squad took Virginia (coached by current LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena) to two overtimes before losing on penalty kicks.

Murray coached the U-18’s from 1995-99, a period highlighted by participation in the 1998 World Youth Games in Moscow. Two of the players he coached during that time eventually became tied to the Rapids - Edson Buddle and Conor Casey, both of whom played for the U.S. national side. One particular year, Murray had a pair of future U.S. national team players as his two goalkeepers - 2014 World Cup and Everton star Tim Howard and Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando.  

When Sampson was named to coach the USA squad in the 1998 World Cup, he asked Murray to be one of his advance scouts. Murray scouted Costa Rica a full two years before the World Cup began and later scouted games of the Netherlands, France and Italy.