His dream job is a reality.

John Michael Hayden has played on two national championship teams and was a first round pick in the Major League Soccer draft. Now he wants to take the University of Louisville to the next level.

Coach John Michael Hayden is accompanied by his sons Jacob and Liam during the press conference (Charlie Springer photo).

Hayden was selected as the fifth head coach of the UofL soccer program on Thursday, after having served as an assistant to former Louisville Coach Ken Lolla for the past four seasons. He’s a Louisville native and a Trinity graduate.

“You look at my past and you say okay you’ve  won national championships and an  MLS cup,” he said. “Coming to Louisville, one of the things I know it that in this environment we can win championships.” This is where I want to be the most, and I’m very excited about it.

“Throughout my soccer career, I have spent time in a number of championship environments as both a player and coach, which gives me a blueprint for what it takes to win. My hope is to build on success Ken Lolla achieved at Louisville and to raise the program to an even higher standard of excellence.”

As a collegian, Hayden helped the Indiana University soccer team to back-to-back NCAA Soccer Cup championships during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He scored the winning goal against Maryland with a header in the 2004 finale. In 2007, he was selected 13th overall in the MLS Super Draft by the Houston Dynamo. During his rookie season, Houston won an MLS Cup Championship.

Hayden plans on being here for a long time, saying he wants to be last UofL soccer coach AD Vince Tyra hires. “This is where I want to be the most, and I’m very excited about it,” he stated.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.