Indiana men’s soccer will enter the 2022 season with high expectations, excitement and plenty of anticipation for what’s to come in the program’s 50th season.
The Hoosiers, who finished their 2021 campaign in a 2-3 loss to the University of Washington in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, will have many eyes on them expecting a similar — or better — showing.
The team will look different this year after losing goalkeeper Roman Celentano and forward Victor Bezerra to Major League Soccer and gaining transfers, such as junior forward Karsen Henderlong and junior defender Jansen Miller.
While it’s too early to solidify what the team will look like, the schedule is set and is full of opportunities for the Hoosiers to once again put themselves on the national stage.
“We have once again put together a very challenging schedule, making each match an important building block to help this team compete for championships,” head coach Todd Yeagley said in a release from IU Athletics.
The Hoosiers begin their season with a trio of exhibition matches against DePaul University Aug. 12, Bowling Green State University Aug. 16 and the University of Louisville Aug. 19. During the regular season, they are set to face eight teams who reached the 2021 NCAA Tournament, two of whom played in the College Cup: Notre Dame University and Clemson University.
Indiana will open regular season play on Aug. 26 against 2021 national champion Clemson in South Carolina, where the two teams will play each other for the first time since 2012. The Hoosiers are 6-4-1 all-time against the Tigers, but both teams make regular appearances in the NCAA Tournament and have multiple titles to boast.
By beginning their season in an environment such as Clemson’s, which averaged 2,275 fans per home match, the Hoosiers will immediately be able to start tough competition, preparing them for the rest of the season and giving them a chance to see how they measure up against one of the country’s best programs.
Indiana’s home opener comes on Aug. 30 against the University of Portland. The Pilots finished the 2021 season with a record of 11-7-1, making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Washington. While the matchup will likely not be as competitive as that against Clemson, it will be just as important for Indiana to win in order to start off on the right foot at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
The matchup against Portland will start a four-match homestand for Indiana, as the team will play the University of Notre Dame, St. John’s University and Akron University before leaving Bloomington.
The Hoosiers’ first five matches are all against 2021 tournament teams. Playing at their own field for four of those matchups will give them the advantage of a home crowd, something that is highly valued by the program and athletes.
“Our loyal fans and electric student section, the Hoosier Army, help make Bill Armstrong Stadium a special college soccer venue," Yeagley said.
The Hoosiers will also play the University of Kentucky at home on Oct. 5. The Wildcats finished their 2021 season with a record of 15-2-4, and lost to Clemson in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Indiana will begin Big Ten play Sept. 18. Notable conference matchups are, as per usual, Maryland and Penn State. Indiana lost 0-2 to Maryland at College Park, Maryland in the final regular season match of the 2021 season.
The Hoosiers beat the Nittany Lions 1-0 in their regular season matchup before falling 0-3 in the Big Ten Championship. Both of those matches were played at University Park, Pennsylvania.
Indiana will play Penn State Oct. 14 and will once again close out its regular season against Maryland Oct 30.
There is no doubt the Hoosiers have a challenging schedule ahead of them. Almost every match is likely to be competitive, and the Hoosiers have new faces in some key spots on their roster that will require some shuffling and adapting as the season progresses.
But one thing is certain — Indiana wants to make it to the NCAA Tournament. Every game in the schedule is important in helping the team reach that goal.