IU men's soccer freshman striker Mason Toye leads the Hoosiers in goals scored with nine, was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and received First Team All-Big Ten honors for his regular season play.
But beyond his stats, it's Toye's impact on others off the pitch that makes him such an integral part of the team.
It all started with a tournament at Disney World near Orlando, Florida, while Toye was a high school sophomore in December 2014. IU Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Kevin Robson watched Toye play and noticed him.
“It was a late game at the Disney Tournament, and Robson said that he found a good one in Mason,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “You can sense when your staff gets excited about certain players, and it was a different kind of excitement. He wasn’t playing for a powerhouse, or in an area that we particularly look at, and once we started to dig into his past we found out he had a good background.”
After Toye was contacted by Yeagley and his staff, he visited Bloomington, and Toye said he knew right away that he had found his future home.
“My visit was pretty quick,” Toye said. “My first unofficial visit went well, and I wanted to commit right after. I went to North Carolina short after, and it just didn’t compare to IU. My mom made me wait until the end of the summer to commit, but in my mind I wanted to commit right after I visited Indiana.”
Soon after he arrived on campus this past summer, Toye said he adjusted quickly and now loves living at IU. He said the transition from his hometown, South Orange, New Jersey, was seamless because he arrived early to campus.
Off the pitch, Toye said he’s bonded quickly with his Briscoe Residence Hall quadmates, freshman attackers Griffin Dorsey and Justin Rennicks and freshman midfielder Joe Schmidt, through an Xbox One game called "Fortnite."
"Justin Rennicks wins a lot," Toye said. "I’m not very good; I just like to watch because I never win.”
Yeagley said Toye is a joy to have around the training ground and in the locker room, and he said Toye brings a sort of energy that not everyone can carry with them day-in and day-out.
“He’s just a fun-loving kid. He’s always got a really good demeanor to him, and he’ll converse with anyone," Yeagley said. "He has a lot of interests and is always ready for a good joke or smile. When it comes to work and taking care of things, he’s really locked in. He’s a fun teammate for these guys, and we love being around him. He can take a jab or two when we give it to him, and he likes to give them as well.”
On top of his personality, Toye has everything a coach could ask for in a striker, Yeagley said, and there aren't any major improvements that he needs to add to his game.
“He’s got soft feet and a good mind, and he’s got all the tools that you want if you were to build a striker,” Yeagley said. “He has some small things to work on, but none that are not in his ability. Once he starts to get those details together, who knows where Mason can end up?”
Toye also has a passion for basketball. He quit soccer to play basketball for six months during his sophomore year of high school.
Toye said though he had a great time on the court, it just wasn’t the same as lacing up his cleats and running around on a soccer pitch.
“It just wasn’t the same as playing soccer,” Toye said. “It was a really good time and I met some great people, but there was just something in my heart that said I needed to go back to soccer.”
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