New IU men’s soccer coach Todd Yeagley couldn’t be happier being back at his alma mater.
“Every day, I kind of step back from what I’m doing and say, ‘I have the best job in college soccer,’” he said. “I’m very fortunate.”
And if the beginning of the spring season is any indicator, the new era of Hoosier soccer is progressing well.
After winning the first of six exhibition games scheduled for the spring, the Hoosier team has earned the praise of its new boss.
“They’re giving us one heck of an effort,” Yeagley said. “We have a good balance of some upperclassmen with some young guys. I like the feel of the group.”
Yeagley said he hopes to get a better idea of where certain players might perform best when IU returns to action against Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. today at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
“Each game, we want to go in with some different objectives and seeing some players in certain positions,” he said. “You might see a few players in spots who didn’t play in those areas in the last game. We’ve got to see some players in spots to see if we can develop depth in those spots and find new combinations and chemistry in different combinations of the field.”
He also said competition among the players at different positions should help to improve the team.
“We do know that we have some areas of the field that we’ve got to get better in,” he said. “Some of the players coming in give us a potential boost and some competition, which is always a bit of a cornerstone of this program, that we can always have some competition to get out on that field.”
Since IU’s 2-1 victory against Louisville on March 28, Yeagley said the focus in practice has been consistency and details, primarily on defense and efficient offensive possessions.
Sophomore forward Will Bruin, who scored the first of IU’s two goals against Louisville, said combination play also carried emphasis and would be part of the game plan today.
“We’re still just trying to build off the basic principles that we had at the start,” he said. “We’re trying to get patterns ingrained into our minds so that it just comes natural instead of having to think about it.”
The first team All-Big Ten striker added after Wednesday’s practice that Yeagley has been successful in getting the most out of players in practice.
“Everybody knows what’s expected of them, and if you’re not playing up to your ability, he’ll let you know,” he said. “Today is a perfect example. We started off really slow in practice, and then we finished up really strong.”
Yeagley said he expects to see that same strong effort from his players in his second outing as coach.
“We’re starting to see that show up consistently in training, and that’s going to translate to the game,” he said. “We’re staying the course we’ve had from the beginning.”