Drover Alum Since Day One: Pinder Nijjar

A photo of Pinder Nijjar from his days in the Drover Soccer program, dressed in a black and yellow jersey with two soccers balls just to his left on the pitch
Nijjar has served on the women’s soccer coaching staff at the University of San Francisco since 2016.

Born and raised in Nottingham, England, Pinder Nijjar grew up loving the game of soccer and had long desired to move to the United States and play at the collegiate level. When he heard about the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma from a sports agency that was representing him, as well as the generous athletic scholarships the school offered, he traveled to Chickasha to fulfill this dream.

As a member of the men’s soccer team, Nijjar helped the Drovers achieve the number five slot in the NAIA’s national ranking, while also capturing a Sooner Athletic Conference title and finishing as the runner-up in a regional tournament. Graduating in 2009 with a degree in kinesiology, Nijjar then headed for California, where he played for the Ventura County Fusion in the United Soccer League.

At the end of 2011, Nijjar was hired by the Southern California Olympic Development Program in Los Angeles. During his tenure, Nijjar led the team to two consecutive national championships in 2015 and 2016. After the 2016 season, he then joined the women’s soccer coaching staff at the University of San Francisco. Though he began as a volunteer, he has now worked his way up to become the team’s associate head coach.

“One of the most difficult decisions I had to make was to bet on myself and take the volunteer coaching position, leaving everything that I had worked towards in LA for six years” he said. “Eventually, this paid off, since I am now the associate head coach and have learned so much during that process.”

Nijjar’s time at USAO helped shape his entire coaching philosophy. With a soccer team made up of students from all over the world, the Drovers had to develop exceptional communication skills in order to work together and find success on the field, in addition to the rigorous mental and physical training that being a scholar-athlete entails. Nijjar not only used this knowledge to help himself understand how the world works, but he finds ways to help others along the way.

“My acceptance and curiosity about other cultures was massively developed at USAO,” said Nijjar. “I have an ability to adapt to different situations, and that adaptability has provided me the chance to reconfigure the way I process situations and the way I deal with certain issues that arise in managing a team of 30 Division 1 athletes.”