Sports

Young Hoosiers set for next big test

Bruin, Meyer adjusting to collegiate level

POSTED AT 12:15 AM ON Sep. 5, 2008 

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At this point last year, forward Will Bruin and defender Tommy Meyer were about to begin their final seasons of high-school soccer. Today, the freshmen are both starting on a team with sights set on winning an eighth Division I National Championship.

Talk about change in scenery.  

“I had a lot of jitters going,” said Meyer, referring to his first ever regular-season game in the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic last week. “The atmosphere was great. Everything is a lot faster and more physical than it was in high school, so it’s a huge difference.”

But don’t let their age fool you – both freshmen came to IU with talent equivalent or better than most veteran college players.

Meyer is a two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American and played with the U.S. Under-20 National team. Bruin was also a two-time NSCAA All-American and the 2007 Missouri State Soccer Player of the Year.

IU coach Mike Freitag said he is happy with the development of both players at this stage in the season.

“I had expectations that both would be on the field for us. ... Right now they are proving my expectations correct,” Freitag said. “They are still adjusting, but I think they have gotten off to a good start. They will gain confidence and get used to the speed of play.”

Both freshmen started the two games last weekend, and Bruin even had multiple shots on goal. Bruin said there is a major difference in style of play from high school to college, but knew what he was getting into.

“I expected it to be as hard as I could imagine so I wouldn’t be a shocked when I got here,” Bruin said. “(Last weekend) was a lot of fun but tough. The first time you walk on that field, everyone said you would get chills, and I did.”

Junior forward Darren Yeagle recalled what it was like when he first reached the collegiate level.

“When I was a freshman, it took me a while to get used to the speed of play and physicalness of college soccer,” Yeagle said. “They are adapting to it well. I knew they would help us out tremendously during the season.”

Another aspect that requires adjustment is balancing classes with daily practices, film analysis sessions and games. Meyer said it is sometimes hard to play at full speed after a long day of school. 

“You have to bring your energy back up when you get done with school and be at practice on time and ready to go,” said the freshman defender.

For the second weekend in a row, IU will take on two top opponents when they travel to the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament in South Bend. The Hoosiers will play No. 14 South Florida at 5 p.m. Friday and Dartmouth at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.  
Freitag said the games may be two of the toughest matchups of the year, especially USF.

“We have two very difficult games,” Freitag said. “South Florida is a team that could very easily be in the final four. If you let them get into rhythm, they will carve you up.”
For Bruin and Meyer, this weekend will be just another test in their blossoming careers, something their teammates say will extend far beyond two games in South Bend.

“Tommy, getting all this experience as a young player at center back, will be one of the vocal leaders of this team,” junior defender Kevin Alston said. “The same thing for Will up top. ... I see the program shaping around them.”

 

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