Victor Pace, or Vic as known to his family and friends, is the 17th individual affiliated with the men’s soccer program to be inducted into the Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame.
Pace was a member of the men’s soccer team from 1988-91. He began his career as a forward before switching to a defensive role as the team’s sweeper as a senior. By the time he finished his career, Pace helped lead the then-Rifles to a 56-22-4 overall record. He helped lead the team to the program’s final NAIA Tournament appearance as a freshman in 1988 and the program’s first NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in 1991, the first year as members of NCAA Division II.
Pace’s move to the sweeper position was a major move for not only himself, but for the team. In his first three years as an offensive player, he scored 25 goals and added 11 assists for 61 points. His natural skill, though, made it easy for him to move to a new position to bolster the defensive unit. He scored two more goals as a senior to finish his career with 65 points. That figure ranks 21st all-time at Upstate, but was the sixth-highest career point total when he graduated.
Pace scored 11 goals and added five assists for 27 points in ranking second on the team in scoring as a freshman in 1988. He helped lead the team to an 18-4-2 overall record and an appearance in the NAIA National Tournament, the last for the program as it made the transition to NCAA Division II and the last under legendary head coach Frank Kohlenstein. He was third on the team with 15 points on six goals and three assists as a sophomore in 1989, leading the squad to a 12-7-0 record under first year head coach David Linenberger. He ranked second on the team in scoring as a junior in 1990, finishing the year with 19 points on eight goals and three assists for the 9-8-0 squad.
As a senior under first-year head coach Rob Russo, Pace switched to defender and led the unit to 12 shutouts and an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament in 1991. Individually, Pace was an all-conference and all-tournament selection in the Peach Belt Conference. His move to sweeper was made more impressive when he earned NSCAA First Team All-America and All-Region honors.
Pace graduated from Upstate with a bachelor’s degree in Education in 1992. He served as an assistant coach under Russo for the next three seasons before moving to Spartanburg Methodist College as the head women’s soccer coach and assistant men’s soccer coach from 1994-96. He was a player and assistant coach with the South Carolina Shamrocks professional team from 1995-96 before making the move to Texas in 1996.
Pace moved to Houston in 1996 to serve as the Assistant Director of Coaching with the Classics Soccer Club. He remained in that position until 2002 when he joined the Lonestar Soccer Club in Austin. He currently serves as the South Program Director of Player Development and is the South co-Director of Coaching. He and the club have helped place several young soccer players into the college and pro ranks, including current Spartans Dani Alvarado, Derek Dearmond and Akin Adediji. He holds the U.S. Soccer Federation’s A License, the highest coaching certification in the nation.
Pace is a native of Brampton, Ontario, and was an All-Ontario soccer team member prior to coming to school in Spartanburg. He was a member of the Toronto Jets club team that won the Ontario Provincial championship and won the bronze medal in the Canadian Nationals. He and his wife, Darlene, are the proud parents of two daughters, Megan and Keagan.