Jacksonville University

2800 University Boulevard North Jacksonville, FL 32211
Division 1 Florida Southeast
Private Small Competitive team



Mauricio Ruiz

Jacksonville University welcomed Mauricio Ruiz as its 11th head men’s soccer coach on February 13, 2014.

In the third season at the helm of his own program, Ruiz guided the Dolphins to their first ASUN Conference Championship in eight years. The 2016 campaign saw Jacksonville amass eight wins including a 2-0 shutout at South Florida, a 2015 and 2016 NCAA Tournament participant.

Two players earned all-conference honors and three were named to the ASUN All-Tournament Team.

En route to becoming the fourth No. 5 seed to advance to the league championship, the Dolphins defeated the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2-1, in the opening round of the ASUN Tournament and shutout the top-seeded, reigning champions North Florida, 1-0, in the semifinals.

Ruiz joined the Dolphins after spending six seasons at UCF, where he assisted in developing the Knights into one of the top programs in the nation.

After serving as a volunteer assistant coach at UCF in 2008, Ruiz was promoted to assistant coach in the summer of 2009 and recruiting coordinator in the spring of 2010. Securing the No. 1 recruit in the state of Florida and No. 20 recruit nationally two years in a row, Ruiz’s second recruiting class in 2012 was ranked as one of the top 30 in the country by TopDrawerSoccer and College Soccer News. The 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes also shared some of the same high-caliber recruits, including the No. 2 player in the state of Florida and four players in the top 150 in the country.

Under his recruiting and coaching efforts, UCF advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2010 after a five-year absence and has been a fixture in national rankings since then. That year, UCF hosted its first-ever NCAA Tournament game against USF in the first round, beating its in-state rivals, 3-0. The Knights then took eventual College Cup semifinalist Michigan into overtime in Ann Arbor, before falling, 2-1, in the Round of 32.

Ruiz also helped players earn individual accolades in 2010 with Warren Creavalle named as a third-team All-American. A program-record six players were named to the All-C-USA Teams, including three on the first team. The Knights also had three players named to the NSCAA All-South Region teams in 2010, with Creavalle landing a spot on the first team.

In 2011, the team once again made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and was ranked as high as No. 6 nationally during the campaign. In its finest season in school history, UCF defeated a pair of nationally-ranked squads and opened the season 6-0-1 while advancing to the Conference USA Championship semifinals for the third consecutive year.

Heading into the 2012 season, Ruiz was promoted to Associate Head Coach. UCF recorded plenty of highlights in 2012. The Knights posted a 1-0 win over No. 17 SMU during the year and also had big road victories at Kentucky and Marshall in league play. Deshorn Brown and Andrew Quintana garnered all-league first team honors and Brown was named to the NSCAA All-South Region first team.

Ruiz not only attracted some of the top recruits in the country to come to Central Florida, he was also instrumental in helping many of his players go on to professional careers. Under his direction, Brown, Kevan George, Creavalle and Sean Johnson were selected in the MLS SuperDraft. Chosen as the 6th overall pick in 2013 in the SuperDraft, Brown was also selected to join the Jamaican Senior national team. Johnson currently suits up for the U.S. Senior national team while George plays with the Trinidad and Tobago Senior National team.

Off the field, the men's soccer team posted the highest grade point average for any men's team at UCF, and the Knights had 16 players gain spots on the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll for having a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Personally, he helped mentor student-athletes, assisting a few of them in obtaining the C-USA Jim Castaneda Post Graduate Scholarship.

Highly involved with the Greater Central Florida youth soccer community, he worked as the Director of Coaches for the Florida Soccer Alliance in Lake Mary, Fla. from 2010-12. Currently he holds a US Soccer Academy staff coach role with Orlando City, working with some of the top players in the Orlando area.

In his playing days, Ruiz starred at UCF before finishing his collegiate career at Stetson. As a Knight, he was part of the conference championship team that reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Playing two seasons with the Hatters, he captained the team to an Atlantic Sun Championship during his senior year.

During the 2007-08 season, he suited up with the Orlando Sharks of the Major Indoor Soccer League, playing 27 out of 30 games and recording seven goals and four assists as a rookie.

Ruiz earned a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Stetson in 2005. Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he moved to the United States in 1996 with his parents, Rosely and Miguel Ruiz, and two older sisters.

Ruiz and his wife Milena live in Jacksonville.

He currently holds a U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) "B" license.

show more

Email coach

Thomas Buckner

Tom Buckner enters his first season as an assistant coach with Jacksonville University men's soccer in 2018. The former NCAA Division I goalkeeper brings a wealth of playing a coaching experience at a variety of levels with him to the River City, where he will assist Head Coach Mauricio Ruiz with coaching and recruiting duties.

Buckner comes to Jacksonville after serving as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Hartwick College, in Oneonta, New York. While at Hartwick, he assisted with the team's day-to-day operations, and was the head of goalkeeping training.

Prior to his tenure in the Empire State, Buckner spend two seasons at Western Illinois University as a graduate assistant coach, while working to earn a master's degree in sports management with a 3.9 GPA. He helped the Leathernecks become Summit League semi-finalists in 2016 and 17, and pick up seven Summit League All-Conference awards, eight Player of the Week accolades and a First-Team Academic All-American selection.

Buckner spent summer 2017 as an assistant coach with the Myrtle Beach Mutiny of the Premier Development League, helping the team post a 10-2-3 record in their first campaign, and win a South East Division Title. The Mutiny were voted the Top New Franchise of 2017, while their goalkeeper, working directly under Buckner, was a one-time PDL National Player of the Week.

His coaching experience began in 2016, when he served as the head coach of the Hunter's Creek U19 Boys Global Premier Soccer Club in Orlando, Fla. He also served as the club's Head of Media Relations and Camps during his time.

A native of England, Buckner was a four-year letterwinner at Hartwick from 2011-15, and served as the starting goalkeeper during the entirety of his college career. A team captain his senior year, he helped the Hawks capture the 2014 Sun Belt Regular Season and Tournament Championships, and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. He was a Sun Belt Second-Team All-Conference selection in 20015, and earned a pair of Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Buckner earned a bachelor's degree of arts in journalism from Hartwick in 2015.

show more
The site was a great resource to sort colleges by my selection criteria, connect with coaches and be a repository for all of my communications. Overall, the best site that I used in my college soccer search.
- Kiera LoftusWhat are others saying?