Alumnus excels on Major League Soccer pro team

Tristan Blackmon playing for Vancouver Whitecaps.

Tristan Blackmon (Photo credit: Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

A standout player for Pacific’s men’s soccer program, Tristan Blackmon ’17 is excelling at the next level with the Vancouver Whitecaps, a Canadian professional soccer team.

The defender was traded to the Whitecaps from Charlotte FC earlier this year and was named to the Major League Soccer Team of the Week. Blackmon has appeared in 19 games this season with 14 starts and 1,324 minutes played, which is second best for his career. 

Blackmon credits his time at Pacific with preparing him for the pros.

“I learned a lot about myself at Pacific,” he said. “I learned how to be a good teammate and I learned how to be committed to a cause that even maybe I couldn’t see myself. I learned to trust the process, which is the ideology that has helped me the most in my professional career.”

He made the most of his chance to play as a freshman at Pacific, earning West Coast Conference All-Freshman honors in 2014. The Las Vegas native made 71 appearances for Pacific over four seasons and helped the Tigers reach the second round of the 2017 NCAA tournament. 

Blackmon was awarded the 2017 West Coast Conference Defender of the Year, was named to the 2017 First Team All-Far West Region and the 2016 and 2017 First Team All-WCC teams. 

“One moment that my teammates and I from the 2016 season will remember was when we got our first bid into the NCAA Tournament,” Blackmon said. “We all made a lot of sacrifices and worked extremely hard leading up to the regular season. I’m sure there is a video of our reactions on someone’s phone.”

Blackmon was the third overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft by Los Angeles FC and spent four seasons with the club. 

“Draft Day was a surreal moment, and it is definitely a day I will always remember,” Blackmon said. 

“The MLS has grown without a doubt since I have been in the league. You can tell by the number of teams that have been added, the support of fans has increased, and the players that continue to come and join. I was lucky enough to be in one of the biggest markets in MLS in Los Angeles. I was able to be in some of the biggest games each week, and it’s heading in the right direction regarding growth. I think it’s getting much more respect than it had in the past, and that is exciting.”

The Pacific men’s soccer team kicks off its 2022 season Thursday, Aug. 25 at Knoles Field against UC San Diego. View the schedule.