Todd Yeagley tied to Hoosier soccer
The sign is fitting because for the past 40-plus years, one native family has essentially ruled that area of the Bloomington campus: the Yeagleys.
Living out this season’s addition to that dynasty is IU Coach Todd Yeagley.
The three-year IU men’s soccer head coach, born and raised in Bloomington, is the son of six-time NCAA champion and former IU Coach Jerry Yeagley.
Although the pressure from the townspeople and intrigue of playing for his father was constant, Yeagley looks back on his youth with a smile.
“I loved it,” Yeagley said. “I liked other sports, and when you’re around it 24/7, you’re either going to really like it or you’re really not.
“I enjoyed playing other sports at a young age, but soccer was the sport that was natural to me.”
According to Todd, the thought of a Yeagley playing for a Yeagley was always in the minds of IU soccer fans. Being a coach’s son does have its perks.
“I would come out and sit on the outside or be a ball boy and juggle with the players,” Yeagley said.
“In the summer, I played a ton with the guys, but I just loved to be a part of the program.
“The times have really changed. We were only a club at that point, and the
Bloomington Cutters didn’t even exist. There were only independent teams with one team per age group.
“I would often play up two or three years above my level.”
Eventually, Yeagley got the opportunity to play for Bloomington High School South.
During his senior year, the team was upgraded — just as the team at IU had been — from club to varsity.
But Yeagley missed the opportunity to play that season because of an injury.
When the time came to decide which school he would attend and compete with, the decision was obvious.
He chose Indiana.
“It was the best program,” Yeagley said. “I grew up with these players who were like big brothers to me. Why wouldn’t I come here?”
As opposed to his childhood, this would not be an instance where being the son of the coach would provide perks.
“My father always told me if I wasn’t good enough to be a Hoosier then I wouldn’t play here,” Yeagley said.
“He was very adamant about that. Growing up, my father never coached me, so it was new, and it was good it happened that way.”
Yeagley said once he put the uniform on, he knew he would need to live up to the expectations that had been building throughout his life.
The coach’s son would need to bring it.
“It was fuel for me to go out and show everyone that the past players and coaches had helped me develop,” Yeagley said.
“I was very driven to have a good career here. I wanted to give back what they gave me.”
After seven years with the Columbus Crew following a draft selection in the inaugural MLS draft, Yeagley returned to IU as an assistant coach.
In 2008, Wisconsin hired him on as head coach.
Following the firing of Mike Freitag, Yeagley returned for the 2010 season as head coach of his alma mater.
Yeagley knew the same expectations he faced as a player would be waiting for him at the gates of Jerry Yeagley Field.
In his first two seasons as IU’s head coach, Yeagley has led the Hoosiers to a 23-12-7 record, reaching the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament both seasons.
This season, his Hoosiers have started 2-0.
“It would have been easier to go somewhere else and not have to live up to the expectations, but I didn’t shy away from it,” Yeagley said. “I’ve been taught you have to go after stuff.
“Things with great reward are difficult and have risks, but you don’t know until you put yourself in that arena. You just have to live that way and go for it.”