Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yeagley Seeks To Restore IU’s Soccer Greatness

In case you didn’t notice, Todd Yeagley won his first soccer game as Indiana’s head coach. That puts him exactly 543 Hoosier wins behind his Hall of Fame father, Jerry.

It would take Todd probably 30 years to surpass that total, which is why he is as concerned about that as he is the number of trees surrounding Lake Monroe.

His job is to restore Cream ‘n Crimson greatness and last Sunday’s 5-1 victory over No. 5 UCLA was a great start.

As Todd has said, he doesn’t just want to beat teams, he wants to “bury them,” not because he’s mean and nasty, but because he wants to make the Hoosiers a team to fear again. A little rump kicking goes a long way toward doing that.

There is plenty of work to before IU is again a national title contender, but at least the Hoosiers have an offense. That’s been a problem in the last couple of years and is among the improvements Todd seeks to make. He wants to combine old-school basics with “modern” soccer, which basically means playing with aggression and flair and, yes, beauty. Players are taught to create without sacrificing fundamentals, toughness and resolve.

Todd grew up amidst soccer excellence, then became part of it as a four-time All-American. He played professionally for seven years, then returned as a Hoosier assistant. He spent one year as Wisconsin’s head coach before returning to the Hoosiers last winter.

Counting a 2-1 overtime loss to California, the Hoosiers are 1-1 with a nice mix of veterans and freshmen. They are building something special and the odds are it won’t take long.

Yes, Jerry is part of it, not as an assistant coach, but more of a consultant, someone Todd can seek advice from. That’s as it should be. Jerry built the program from scratch and Todd doesn’t want to lose that connection.

Still, this is very much his son’s program. He calls the shots and will reap the benefits when things go well, the criticism when they go wrong. Figure they will mostly go well. It’s a family tradition, you see.

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