TUCSON, Ariz. — FC Tucson Head Coach John Galas announced today that he has named Vito Higgins as the new Assistant Coach of the First Team and the inaugural Head Coach of the Pro Academy for the upcoming USL Academy and USL League One seasons.
In his position with the FC Tucson Pro Academy, Higgins will play a key role in the club’s youth development and will lead all coaching, scouting and training efforts.
“Vito brings a wealth of experience to our staff. From his collegiate playing career and professional career, to transitioning into full-time coaching, Vito has worked at a variety of levels and will be instrumental to our first team as well as his role and responsibility with managing our Pro Academy,” said John Galas. “He is the perfect fit to round out my staff and I cannot wait to work with him this season. I’m glad to welcome Vito, his wife Katie and their daughter Kamiya to the FC Tucson family.”
Higgins, 35, joins FC Tucson’s staff after two seasons as Assistant Coach with the North Idaho College Men’s Soccer team. The native of Kailua, Hawai'i, previously was the Assistant Coach for the Gonzaga University Men’s soccer team of the NCAA Division I West Coast Conference from 2008-2019. Higgins’s coaching experience includes time as the goalkeeper coach for the Olympic Development Program West Region since 2019 and as Director of Goalkeeping for the Timbers - Thorns North FC youth soccer club.
"I am extremely excited to be a part of the FC Tucson family, and I am very thankful to Amanda Powers, John Galas, and Jon Pearlman for the opportunity,” said Vito Higgins. “My time with the club 10 years ago was brief and I now look forward to fully immersing myself in the club, community, and culture that is and surrounds FC Tucson. I will support the club in every way I can so we may have success and ultimately bring a league title to Tucson."
As a player, Higgins signed for the LA Galaxy in 2008 following an open tryout, later leaving the club following a season-ending foot injury. In 2011 Higgins joined FC Tucson to start in goal for the club’s Desert Diamond Cup campaign, playing in matches against the New York Red Bulls and the Arizona Sahuaros. Collegiately, Higgins helped lead the Gonzaga Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in 2007, earning the second-best rank on the single-season record list in goals-against-average (0.71). Higgins also holds a 1.34 career GAA that ranks third all-time and holds the second-best record in career shutouts (14) in Gonzaga history. The 6-foot-3 goalkeeper started 70 of his 72 appearances and played more than 6,500 minutes during his collegiate career.
FC Tucson will begin the 2021 USL League One season on or about May 8 and will feature a 28-game season running through October and culminating in a six-team playoff to take place in November. Further announcements regarding the 2021 USL Academy season are soon to be announced.
To learn more about the FC Tucson Pro Academy site, visit fctucson.com/academy.