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Thursday, Nov. 30
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's soccer

Former IU defender Nick Garcia tried to energize IU in practice

Men's Soccer

Nick Garcia has raised two national trophies above his head during his time as an IU player.

But he spent time on the pitch Wednesday and Thursday with a team that is struggling to grasp a berth to the NCAA tournament.

“Soccer isn’t always a pretty game,” Garcia said. “I know. I’ve been a part of many not-so-pretty games, but we’ve gotten wins. You’ve got to find a way to win.”

IU, which is 8-8-1 and sits at 2-3 in the Big Ten, is practicing this week to take on No. 25 Penn State, who is currently slotted No. 1 in the Big Ten.

“I just wished them all the best of luck in getting it,” Garcia said. “Obviously, I can’t play, but hopefully my presence and some of my professionalism can help them.”

The Toronto FC back and IU alum practiced with the men’s soccer team in hopes of lifting the .500 team’s spirit.

“The last time I actually trained here at IU, I guess it was probably back in ’99 before we had gone off to the Final Four,” Garcia said. “It brought back some great memories, and I hope my presence kind of rubs off on the guys.”

Defending for 90 minutes, the Hoosiers’ last game ended just three minutes into overtime when a toe-poke shot from Ohio State gave the Buckeyes the win.

However, Garcia ran into luck that he thinks could help the team.

“At my hotel, I’m in room 333, and I got in here at 3:33 this afternoon, and my jersey at IU was No. 3 so – good luck,” he said.

Garcia said he also knows past players, like him, who have followed the team and expect good things from the guys.

“We’re rooting them on and wish them the best of luck on the home stretch,” Garcia said.

Garcia was a three-time All-American and teammate of current assistant coach Aleksey Korol. In his junior season at IU, the defender finished second in votes for the Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the top player in college soccer.

“I haven’t been back for about 10 years and a lot has changed – new buildings and new restaurants,” Garcia said. “But good old IU is IU. I love it. I miss it, and I wouldn’t trade my college experience for anything in the world.”

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