Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

College Soccer Continues to Be an Evolving Game

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

College Soccer Continues to Be an Evolving Game

Article excerpt

The old saying that 'time flies when you're having fun' certainly applies to my life in college soccer, and this season I'll be embarking on my 20th season of coaching at this level. The game has changed a lot during that time.

From my first season as an assistant coach in 1994 at Iona College, to what will be my eighth year at the helm of the University of Evansville, I feel pretty safe to say that I've probably witnessed everything that can happen around a college soccer field.

There is more parity now than ever before, and in some cases, maybe more than in any other sport sponsored by the NCAA. At a time where BCS football conferences dominate our athletic landscape, schools from outside the traditional BCS schools are all over the college soccer landscape. It is not uncommon to see as many as half of the top 25 polls in soccer filled by teams outside of BCS football conferences.

Akron won a national title in 2010 and advanced to the final the year prior; UC Santa Barbara won a title in 2006 and advanced to the final in 2004; Georgetown (2012), Charlotte (2011) and New Mexico (2005) have all advanced to the finals over the past 10 years, and I don't know that level of parity was around at this degree 20 years ago.

One of the biggest differences is the level of experience that our coaches have today. There are many more coaches who have extensive playing experience, as well as having extensive coaching experience. I always speak of the value of being a part of a coaching family tree, and I am blessed to have a spot on branches of two of the most prestigious family trees in college soccer - having worked for Fred Schmalz here at the University of Evansville, and for John Rennie at Duke University.

The idea of paying it forward is all over the map of college soccer, as former Aces' assistants Stu Riddle (head coach, University of Buffalo) and Mike Miller (assistant coach, Syracuse University) have both moved on from working here at UE to find success as members of our family tree. …

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