Current UDA@NMSU Technical Director and Head Coach Tahlon Drake has announced that UDA@NMSU has hired Blake Ordell as Associate Technical Director/Head Coach. Ordell will join UDA@NMSU in Las Cruces on February 1st.
Ordell played professional soccer for nine years throughout the United States, Sweden, and Canada and has coached collegiately for eleven years. He previously served as head men’s and women’s soccer coach at Lincoln Trail College, head men’s and women’s soccer coach at Sheridan College, head men’s soccer coach at Culver-Stockton College, an
assistant men’s soccer coach at Quincy University, and assistant men’s and women’s soccer coach at MacMurray College.
Ordell was the head men’s soccer coach at Culver-Stockton College of the NAIA for 7 years. In his second season as head coach in 2014, Ordell led the Wildcats to the postseason for the first time since 1999 and the Wildcats advanced to the championship game of the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament. They advanced to the playoffs 5 consecutive years in a row.
C-SC broke a school record for victories in 2014, garnering an 11-9-1 overall record. During his tenure, the season and career shutout record was broken along with the season and career goal-scoring record. After seven seasons with the Wildcats, Ordell holds the best winning percentage all-time. In seven seasons, Ordell coached 14 players who had been named to the All-HAAC team, including Kevin Urbeck, who was a first-team selection in 2014, and Alejandro Mentasti who was an All-American in 2016. Urbeck and Mentasti also earned All-Midwest Region second-team accolades from the NSCAA. In addition, 33 players had been named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes during Ordell's tenure, and in 2015, Dominic Caruso was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® College Division Men's Soccer First Team.
Prior to coaching, Ordell was the director/owner of 'SC’ Ordell Soccer Academy in Detroit, Mich. As the director of coaching/owner, Ordell produced and implemented practice sessions, generated clientele, and created a budget for the facilities while organizing the finances of the company.
Ordell is a graduate of Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, where he played soccer and was a member of the Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC) All-Conference team all four years, including first-team honors his junior and senior seasons. He was named the team's most valuable player his senior year. While in college, Ordell studied in England and played soccer at the University of Central Lancashire. He helped lead the team to the tournament final 16 in the United Kingdom.
Ordell played professional soccer for nine years throughout the US, Canada, and Sweden. These teams include the St. Louis Ambush, Cedar Rapids Rampage, Edsbyns IF, Wichita B52’s, Illinois Piasa, Detroit Waza Flo-Pro, Cincinnati Kings, Toronto Italia, and the Windsor Border Stars. After a strong season with Detroit, he was invited to play with the U.S. National Arena Team where he played against Peru and Mexico.
Ordell, who has a master's degree in Management and Sports Management, has also achieved his United States Soccer Federation B License and United Soccer Coaches Premier Diploma and is currently working to achieve his USSF A License. He is married to Amanda Ordell.
Moving to a new location to complete university can be exciting, but also intimidating. Even seeing your child explore a different part of the world or country is something to look forward to, but it’s impossible not to worry about them or your family far from home.
If you are in the process of sending your child off to study abroad in the UK, are a few states away, or are even a student living abroad or away from home, we have compiled some resources for you.
Traveling to a new location is stressful for everybody, which is why as part of the UDA family, we make sure our students receive assistance while settling into a new place. From helping with travel arrangements, banking, to setting up phone plans, we make sure your studies go as smoothly as possible. We’re here to support you! Learn about our staff and how we assist our students.
When you’re away from home it can be hard to know how to stay connected with family and friends.
here's some of our best advice:
decide on a time
Once your schedules are stable, decide on a time that works for everybody to communicate. Decide on your method of communication — is it best to video chat, or call?
keep one another in the loop
Share pictures and videos of your lives. Whether you’re a parent at home or a student at university, your family members want to know what you’re up to. These could be photos of your latest grocery store run, or your favorite hike — either way, they want to see it!
when life is busy, let your family know
It’s no surprise that this could happen at any moment. If you’re too busy to stick to your schedule of calling or video chatting, try and send each other a quick text — it goes a long way!
keep yourself busy
Students: Studying at university is a great opportunity to explore a new location while learning, so make the most of it! Go explore a new park or grab dinner at that place you’ve always wanted to try. If you’re looking for things to do in Chester, here’s a guide for your weekend.
Parents: This may be one of the few times you get to experience life without an extra person at home. Take this time to pursue things you have wanted to try, even if it is just resting!
If you have any questions about the application process, travel plans, or life at your university, please contact us.
The University Degrees Abroad men’s soccer academy program at New Mexico State University heads into a pivotal game this weekend.
UDA@NMSU, which remains undefeated in its United Premier Soccer League regular season and plays in the UPSL’s Southwest Conference, will face Arizona’s East Valley United Pro Sunday, Oct. 17, at the High Noon Soccer Complex, 2004 Bruins Lane, in Las Cruces.
Kickoff is at 10 a.m. on field No. 1. The match is free and open to the public.
“We’re still undefeated in league play. We’ve got three wins and a draw. And we have what is arguably the best team in the league coming in this weekend to play on Sunday,” UDA program director Jeff Thompson said.
East Valley United Pro finished second overall last season in the UPSL, a professional soccer development league in the United States that includes more than 300 teams nationally.
UDA@NMSU started its current season in August and most recently prevailed against Arizona’s Barca Residency Academy USA last week.
“We had almost 400 fans in the stands, and that was a great atmosphere,” Thompson said of the Oct. 8 match. “We ended up winning that game 3 to 2, and we’d love to replicate it for the game that’s coming up on Sunday.”
A win on Sunday would put UDA@NMSU at the top of the league table, Thompson added.
“That would put us in a really good position to get into the top four for the playoffs, which start the first week in December,” he said.
NMSU and UDA teamed up in 2019 to create a developmental men’s soccer program. The program – UDA’s first in the U.S. – has 35 students, all of whom are seeking degrees at NMSU or Doña Ana Community College.
UDA’s mission is to provide student-athletes with an internationally recognized university degree, a developmental soccer experience and an opportunity for multiple pathways in their chosen career within a fully integrated university experience.
Our Dream Maker Program allows second and third year students to develop a professional portfolio that showcases their academic interests, passions, and skills. We then share this portfolio with companies that match the student's skills and aspirations in order to aid them in discovering a future career. We want to ensure that our graduating students discover a field they are interested in that then leads to a purposeful life.
While talk of next career steps can be daunting, our partner career coach, Nadia Ibrahim-Taney of Beyond Discovery Coaching makes navigating and leveraging a university degree manageable. Nadia's first-hand knowledge of how to operationalize a degree in the job market and is here to help our UDA students thrive.
Before the new academic year gets into full swing, We'd also like to welcome our student-athletes who have returned to their on-campus abodes or those who are just joining a UDA program and are beginning their studies and training at New Mexico State University, the University of Chester and the University of Gloucestershire.
Get to Know some of our players!
As our Academy students are settling in, we wanted to take the opportunity to get to know some of players on a more personal level!
Meet Carlos Ramirez from Greeley, Colorado who will be joining the New Mexico State University Academy.
Meet Joshua Edlemann from Michigan who will be joining the University of Gloucestershire Academy.
Meet Reed Johnson who will be joining the University of Chester Academy.
Want to learn more?
NMSU offers a wide variety of student activities in the beautiful southwest region of the U.S. Nestled within the Organ mountains of Las Cruces, a vibrant and history-rich community, NMSU has a calendar chock-full of events.
"I was getting emails from other soccer clubs and associations, and I signed UDA as one of them and it was different — they give the game a different approach, a year round soccer. You can play soccer at NMSU, which has worked for me because I live in New Mexico. I also wanted to go to a university nearby to receive in- state tuition. That's how I found out about UDA. So I went to one of their trials in Texas, and I ended up liking it a lot.
UDA’s recruitment process was also really good. They gave me a different approach than other soccer camps that I've been to, and told me to play how I needed to. I felt very welcomed from the start.
I'm also excited for college. I'm going to be living in a dorm, and I’m looking forward to a normal college experience, such as meeting new people and moving ahead. UDA has also given me the option to study here for two years and then study at the University of Chester in England, and I am leaning more towards that option. I don’t want to move right away because I have family here. For now, I’m planning to go with the flow and focus on school and soccer."
How does uda prepare student athletes for university?
“We spend a lot of time in preparation before our students go to college. First, we introduce them to the program and share our expectations. We also invite them to an ID camp where they get to meet us one-on-one in person. Then, we invite them to an orientation where our UK staff come over to our US staff to ensure that students and staff are at the same place for the weekend. In this way, the first stage of the preparation is in the US. We also have a strong support network in the UK — from the coaching staff to the university — to guide students through their programs. As students come to the end of their careers, we hold two events. The first one is at the start, which is the Dream Maker program. The other event is a series called Life After UDA where we talk about visa process as well as soccer and career opportunities. In this way, we are involved in helping our students navigate their college life before they get there, once there, and help them figure out what they are going to do after.”
What are the advantages of pursuing higher education through uda?
“One of the biggest advantages for a player to pursue a program through UDA is the longevity of the training seasons. Typically, American students will go three to four months in training, but with UDA, they will train for nine months of the year. The students also play more games — we guarantee them 25 to 30 games. In addition to playing 25 to 30 games, the students are also going to be coached by professionals that have played in professional games, and now have coached in the professional game. Players gain three crucial benefits: longer playing, longer training, and the guidance of qualified professionals.”
what are you looking for in players?
“We want to make sure our students complete the course, so we’re looking for students who are in good academic standing. We’re also looking for students with good character — honesty and reliability. We also want our players to be able to think critically so that they can solve problems without help. We have played with very technical players who have good mechanics, and are highly skilled, and that is usually what I look for in our potential players.”
What advice do you have for those who are considering applying to a uda program?
“Research the programs. Do as much research as you can on the potential programs; make it a job to research the program and your college opportunities.”
how do you help students plan their academic life?
“We first ask students what they think would fall in line with their career goals. We also ask them to think about the cost: whether the program is affordable. Finally, we advise them to find a program that can go side-by-side with their soccer and academic career.”
Last year, UDA NMSU collaborated with the NMSU Office for Student Success to create a developmental youth soccer program to expand their recreation portfolio within the state of New Mexico.
As part of that collaboration, UDA has started a community outreach program in Sisbarro Park.
"UDA has brought 35 students to NMSU who wouldn’t have otherwise been here. They are contributing to our “Aggie Life” and offering local soccer games with semi-pro teams," stated Derek Dictson, Vice President of Advancement and President of Advancement at the NMSU Foundation.
"As part of our Local, State and Regional Outreach we hosted the New Mexico Youth Soccer Association (NMYSA) in Las Cruces for one of their Regional Olympic Development Program Identification Camps that also took place at Sisbarro Park. The event was a big success, and [NMYSA] appreciated the opportunity to be on campus on a good playing surface," continued Dictson.
"This has been a wonderful collaboration ... thank you again for all that you do for NMSU and Las Cruces!" Dictson remarked.
We look forward to our continued relationships with the Las Cruces community and the NMSU as we expand the local soccer opportunities available.
As another season and school term approaches, the excitement of welcoming new student athletes to the UDA Academy at New Mexico State University heightens. This season we are pleased to welcome 25 first year students to the NMSU Academy.
We are even more excited that our student athletes will have the chance to live on campus and experience what it's like to be a student in the beautiful city of Las Cruces.
Our mission is to change lives through education, and we believe that through New Mexico State's campus, academic programs faculty and outstanding facilities will allow our student athletes to not only live our mission, but exceed their goals.
As the new term approaches, our goal remains the same - to help student athletes find a program in which they can study, live and thrive. For incoming recruit Solomon Moss from Peoria, AZ we believe we have done just that, "what drew me to UDA at New Mexico State University was the fact that I get to train nine months out of the year and hope to improve my game with the team" stated Moss.
In addition to playing football year round, our student athletes will gain the skills they need to be successful off the pitch while studying at New Mexico State.
Head Coach, Tahlon Drake reflects on what student athletes can expect at the UDA NMSU program, "The main difference between UDA and a regular university soccer program is the all year training. So when someone asks what will the student athlete be benefiting from the program, my response is simple - development."
There is a lot to look forward to beginning this fall and welcoming a new set of parents and students to the UDA family is just one of them. Drake notes that he is excited to meet the incoming student athletes and keep building connections with those returning. "I'm looking forward to getting to know the new group of players coming in. What makes them tick, how are they motivated and what their goals and dreams outside of soccer are."
Amidst the busyness of a new term, our liaison officer, Alexis Mendoza will be there for each student, equipped with the ability to help as everyone gets settled and prepare for a successful year both on and off the pitch. We are excited to see our student athletes thrive at the UDA NMSU academy!
Interested in learning more?
Here's a start to our fall schedule! We will still be adding the total UPSL schedule, as well as a Home/Home series with NM United Academy and up to 3 additional matches vs El Paso Locomotive Academy.