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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's soccer

Soccer transfer Mares aims to spark IU

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Junior midfielder Dylan Mares said he had not considered leaving the University of Louisville until last fall, when he decided a change was necessary.

Mares spent three years at Louisville, collecting 2010 Big East Rookie of the Year, second-team All-Big East, and Soccer America All-Freshman team honors in his freshman season.

A knee injury forced Mares to redshirt for the 2011 campaign before returning to play 19 matches for the Cardinals last season.

Despite a stellar 2012 season, in which he netted 7 goals and recorded 20 points for Louisville in its run to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, Mares departed the program and joined IU for the Spring 2013 season.

IU Head Coach Todd Yeagley announced the transfer on Jan. 3, 2013, saying then, “Dylan is a special attacking player who will make an immediate impact within our team.

“Our program is excited to have Dylan Mares wear the IU jersey.”

While Mares was reluctant to divulge the details of his transfer decision, he said he began the process in the fall of 2012 while still playing for the Cardinals.

“I had personal reasons,” he said. “I just think it’s something that I felt I needed to do. I felt like I needed a change.”

With his arrival at IU, Mares rejoined fellow Zionsville, Ind., natives and high school teammates Harrison Petts and A.J. Corrado, both senior midfielders for the Hoosiers.

Mares said linking up with Petts and Corrado on and off the field will be a highlight for the upcoming season.

“It’s always nice to be back playing with old players, especially those guys, who are my close friends,” Mares said. “We shared an experience in high school, and now we get to share this experience in college together. It’ll be fun playing with them again.”

The talented midfield trio hope to re-spark the chemistry that led their high school squad to a state championship in 2009.

Petts, a four-year starter and co-captain of the Hoosiers, said the convergence of the three Zionsville alumni has been beneficial on and off the field.

“It’s great. The longer you play with people, the more you know their tendencies, and the easier it is,” Petts said. “You almost feel like there’s a telepathic communication going on.”

Mares will look to leave a mark in the Hoosier midfield throughout the season, but has one game in particular circled on his calendar: an Oct. 15 home matchup with
Louisville, his first against his former team.

The midseason clash appears to be a heavily-contested matchup — both IU and Louisville are currently top-10 teams in the official NCAA rankings. The two teams played last year to a 2-2 double overtime draw.

Mares said his transfer will create an added layer of pressure and competition for the match, but he will use it as motivation.

“It’s always fun playing against old players. There is added motivation because there are a few old players that I’m still friends with. It’s going to be competitive no matter what.”

Rarely is a transfer player faced with the kind of expectations that have been placed on Mares for the upcoming season: not only will he join the Hoosiers as reigning NCAA College Cup champions, he also will step into one of the deepest and most talented midfields in the country, expected to provide depth and attacking prowess to a veteran team.

Mares acknowledged the expectations but downplayed the pressure of his arrival.

“There’s obviously pressure because there’s competition within the team,” he said. “If I’m not playing well, obviously kids can step in and do well for the team, but I’ve played with these guys before.

They know what to expect of me and I know what to expect of them. To come in, I just have to keep working hard in training and make sure that I’m at my best when we play games.”

While it remains to be seen how the transfer of Mares will affect IU men’s soccer as the program chases a second consecutive national championship, Mares described his new setting as “very comfortable” and expressed satisfaction with his decision.

“I never thought I’d see myself transferring, not necessarily to IU, but just in general, transferring,” he said. “But everything happens for a reason, and I’m happy with my move. I couldn’t be happier right now.”

Follow reporter Alden Woods on Twitter @acw9293.

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