A selection committee comprised of NCAA coaches and administrators charged with naming the team only considered the performances of players and coaches at past Division III championships. McManus, Peer and Johnson will be publicly recognized along with the other nine members of the squad during the 2010 Division III Men's and Women's Soccer Championships, December 3-4, in San Antonio.
McManus, who compiled a 230-28-19 record in 13 years at the Division III level while winning five national championships and nine regional titles, was touched and honored to be named the coach of the anniversary team.
"It is not only massive to me, but to UCSD as well because of the teams that were produced in Division III," McManus said in an interview with the NCAA. "There have been hundreds of great coaches in Division III who have done fantastic jobs with their teams. This is incredible. It's probably one of the biggest honors I've had."
McManus came to UCSD as an assistant coach in 1986 after coaching semi-pro soccer in Los Angeles and high school boys' soccer at Torrey Pines. He took the reigns as head coach in 1987 and proceeded to lead UCSD to the NCAA Division III Tournament 13 consecutive seasons. McManus led the Tritons to their first national championship game in 1988, a match that UCSD would lose, 1-0, to William Smith College. However, under McManus' tutelage, UCSD would go 19-1-1 the next season, defeating Ithaca College, 3-2, in the championship game for the program's first national title.
In his 24-year career, 16 of McManus' teams have won 15 or more games and six have recorded 20-win seasons. UCSD captured the 1995 national championship with a 3-0 win over Methodist College, the first of three consecutive national titles for the Tritons. UCSD would go 21-1 in 1996 and 20-2 in 1997 on its way to two more Division III titles. The Tritons' last national championship at the D-III level would come in 1999, when they went 19-1-2 and defeated Malcalester College (MN) in the national championship match, 1-0.
"A school like UCSD attracts special players and that makes coaching easy," said McManus. "The type of kids that we get -hard workers in the classroom, willing players on the field - its the perfect combination of talent that leads to our success on the pitch."
McManus would lead his squad to consecutive national championships during UCSD's first two years competing at the Division II level, taking home titles in 2000 and 2001. Since joining Division II, McManus' teams have taken home seven California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) titles and two national championships. His .846 winning percentage ranks sixth-best among NCAA women's soccer coaches at any level and he has never lost more than five games in a single season.
McManus acknowledged the work of Johnson and Peer, two players whose work ethic and commitment to UCSD soccer were vital to the program's success.
"I think there is something very special about every player that puts on a UCSD uniform," said McManus. "Ele and Carrie are a couple of players that played important roles for some very good teams during the years they were here and they contributed a huge amount of time and will to the program. For them to be recognized nationally, I think it is very fitting."
Johnson and Peer both played for UCSD's 1995 national championship squad, with Johnson taking home Most Outstanding Offensive Player honors and Peer earning All-Tournament Team accolades for their performances in the NCAA Tournament.
Johnson, a forward from Altadena, Calif., joined UCSD in 1993 and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team in each of her four seasons as a Triton. As a freshman, she scored the first goal in an eventual 2-0 win over Gustavus Adolphus in the Regional Semifinals and then improved on that performance the following year, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist during the 1994 NCAA Tournament.
Johnson's junior campaign was highlighted by the Tritons first national championship since 1989, as the striker scored multiple goals in six games during the season and led her team with 17 goals and eight assists. She was instrumental in the biggest games of the season, scoring goals in the Regional Finals and National Semifinals before dishing out an assist on the final goal of UCSD's 3-0 victory over Methodist College in the Final. Johnson's season earned her Second Team All-American recognition, a spot on the GTE Academic All-America District At-Large Team and NCAA All-Tournament Team, as well as the Outstanding Offensive Player of the NCAA Division III Tournament and UC San Diego Athlete of the Year.
There was no letdown during Johnson's final season at UCSD in 1996, as the women's team would take home their second straight national championship with an overall record of 21-1. Johnson scored the first goal of the championship game against the College of New Jersey, becoming the NCAA Tournament leader for career goals with nine. She was recognized for the third straight year on the All-West Region Team, was named UC San Diego Athlete of the Year for the second straight season and was an All-American and Academic All-American First Team member.
"Ele was a talent that was so unpredictable with the ball, it was nearly impossible for anyone to play any good defense on her," said McManus. "She could take the ball, turn, shoot and score at anytime."
Upon graduation, Johnson ranked third on the Triton all-time career list for goals scored (53) and total points (134), and finished fifth in assists (28). Her 17 goals and 42 points in 1995 and 11 assists in 1996 also still rank in the top ten of the Tritons' single season records.
Peer, from Alta Loma, Calif., began her Triton career a year ahead of Johnson in 1992, earning a spot as starting defender after an impressive showing during summer workouts. Her first career goal would provide UCSD a 3-2 edge over Cal Lutheran, sending the Tritons to the National Semifinals where they would eventually fall in penalty kicks to SUNY-Cortland. Peer's defense would be a critical part of the 1993 squad's 17-1-1 season, a year in which the Tritons went undefeated until the National Semifinals. UCSD's fourth leading scorer that season, Peer was also named to the All-Tournament Team, along with Johnson.
As a junior, Peer was instrumental in helping the Tritons to an undefeated regular season record. Unfortunately, UCSD's lone loss in 1994 came in the National Championship game, a 4-3 overtime loss to defending champion, Trenton State. Despite the loss, she would be named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for the second straight season.
1995 was the most memorable year for Peer and UCSD, as the defender started all 21 games and helped the Tritons extend their regular season unbeaten streak to 45 games. Peer assisted on UCSD's only goal during the National Semifinals and was a stalwart on defense in the Championship, helping shut out out Methodist, 3-0. She once again earned All-Tournament honors for her performance in the NCAA, as UCSD would take home the first of three consecutive national championships.
"Carrie was a remarkable defender who just could not be beat," said McManus. "As good as she was on the backline, she could still come forward and make an impact for us offensively."
Thanks to the foundation laid by players like Peer and Johnson, McManus is preparing the ninth-ranked 2010 squad for the CCAA Women's Soccer Championship this weekend on the campus of Cal State Stanislaus in Turlock. The Tritons are riding a 10-match winning streak, are unbeaten in their last 13 contests, and enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed after racking up a 12-2-2 conference record.
UCSD faces No. 3 seed San Francisco State on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the CCAA Semifinals with No. 1 Cal State L.A. and No. 4 Cal State Stanislaus squaring off in the other Semifinal. The winners will collide on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. to decide the tournament winner and automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
The Tritons have won three of the previous five CCAA championships ranging back to 2005, their last coming during the 2008 campaign.