Pau Jimenez Albelda – The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In two seasons under head coach Dan Stratford, WVU men’s soccer has burst onto the national scene.
The Mountaineers defeated eventual national champion Marshall during the spring 2021 season, Stratford’s first at the helm, and then reached the national quarterfinals in the NCAA Tournament last fall.
Stratford hasn’t been shy about setting lofty goals for the program: the former national title winner at Division II Charleston wants to create a top-10 team and championship contender in Morgantown. Former Mountaineer midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda thinks the head coach is well on his way to accomplishing that.
“I would put a lot of money on the line to say WVU is going to be a national champion in the next five years,” Jimenez Albelda said on the latest episode of The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast. “I said that the first time that Dan arrived, so I’m still confident he can make it in five years, which would be three more years.”
Jimenez Albelda played a lead role in West Virginia’s run to the national quarters last fall. He was one of the team’s three captains, and he scored the winning penalty kick in a tournament game against Virginia Tech, clinching a spot in the round of 16 and sending Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium into a frenzy.
The Mountaineers ultimately lost to Georgetown in the Elite 8, falling a few penalty kicks shy of the program’s first berth in the College Cup semis. The native of Barcelona, Spain, thinks the Old Gold and Blue will take that next step soon.
“The culture and the way [Stratford] does things, it’s top tier,” Jimenez Albelda said. “This team does not have a limit.”
It’s that culture that allowed Jimenez Albelda to recently begin a pro soccer career. He currently plays for Terrassa FC, a team in the fourth tier of the Spanish soccer pyramid, and while he thinks coaching is in his future, he’s embracing the opportunity to continue playing.
“My plan is to play for as long as I can, try to have some coaching experience, and then if God wants it, go back to the U.S., because I love college soccer,” Jimenez Albelda said. “I love the system. I’d love to go back and coach, hopefully, for my alma mater. It’d be fantastic.”
In this interview on The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast, presented by Pritt & Spano, Jimenez Albelda reflects on his time at WVU, adapting to pro soccer, his favorite foods and more.