Last week in Bloomington, Todd Yeagley, a four-time All American NCAA division one soccer player who played Major League Soccer and now coaches the Indiana University Men's Soccer Team, outlined the keys to the unmatched legacy left to him by his father, legendary coach Jerry Yeagley.
Jerry, who with his wife, Marilyn, built I.U.'s program from its pre-varsity club days, retired in 2003 after winning his sixth NCAA national championship title. He still holds the most Division I wins. The team has eight national championships to its name. The only team with more is St. Louis, but, Todd noted in his introductory remarks, they haven't won since the '60s. I.U. won its most recent national title in 2012.
Indiana University has been to 18 College Cups tournaments and, until the streak was broken with a 2008 quarter-final loss, every player had been to a least one final, Yeagley said.
To an audience gathered at Ivy Tech in Bloomington, Yeagley recounted some thoughts his father shared at his retirement speech, an ethos now know amongst the team as "The Indiana University Soccer Player." Thanks from Rebecca Townsend, NUVO news editor, to her cousin Reuben Cochran for taping this important piece of cultural history.
For local soccer fans, what follows is close to Gospel: The keys to excellence in the beautiful game, according to both Coach Yeagleys:
Inspire through personal motivation
"The I.U. Soccer Player responds positively to external motivation. However, his strength, his inspiration is derived primarily through personal motivation. The I.U. Soccer Player has a burning desire to achieve success and is driven to be the best he can be."
Performance follows attitude
"The I.U. Soccer Player's performance is shaped through a positive attitude ... and is inhibited by anxiety and fear of failure. The I.U. Soccer Player's performance is bolstered through courage and confidence. The I.U. Soccer Player demonstrates positive self worth, always striving to build up teammates.
"Performance follows attitude: That is something that is embedded into our team. There's not a team that we've had that's been able to achieve national championship success that has not had an incredible attitude toward team-first mentality."
"The I.U. Soccer Player is an honest player. He strives to do everything right all the time. He takes no shortcuts. He does not cheat in practice or in games. While others save it just for the game, the I.U. Soccer Player challenges himself to get better every day. He holds himself and his teammates accountable to the highest standards."
" ... This is difficult because it's easy to not finish a play, take off a day of training, cheat when it's time to do a little bit of fitness or it's transition ... When everyone is pushing you to do it - not just from the top, but your teammates - that's powerful. Because our team is built by that, our players pass it on, so it's not lost.
Pride in the uniform
"The I.U. Soccer Player takes tremendous pride in wearing the soccer uniform. He has a deep respect for the history and tradition of the program and for those who previously wore the uniform. The I.U. Soccer Player considers it an honor and privilege to wear the uniform and he recognizes the responsibilities that go with this honor. Only the highest standard of performance and best effort is acceptable. When the IU soccer player takes the field wearing the I.U. colors, he holds his head high, never hoping to win but expecting to win. After all, he is an Indiana soccer player."
Coach Yeagley is preparing for an exhibition match on April 4 at Carroll Stadium pitting his Hoosiers against the North American Soccer League's newest pro team, Indy Eleven, which is under the coaching direction of I.U. alum Juergen Sommer. The game will serve as a test run of the stadium before the Eleven's official NASL home opener against the Carolina Railhawks at 7:30 p.m. April 12. For ticket info, visit indyeleven.com.
[Full disclosure: This reporter considers Indy Eleven family with which she enjoys watching, playing and building soccer. She is a season ticket holder, wears Indy Eleven gear and is a card-carrying member of the Brickyard Battalion, which is free to join and offers discounts at supporting establishments across town (20 percent off food orders at Union Jack, for example). On the subject of soccer, she must confess a personal passion that can't help but shape her reporting on the subject. She appreciates readers' indulgence on this one particular beat because if she had to choose between soccer and journalism, she'd be unemployed. On the subject of an Indy Eleven vs. I.U., game, however, she refuses to be sad if her hometown team - the Hoosiers - wins. She does think, though, that Indy Eleven, as the pro side, must win for reputation's sake. Therefore, she wishes both coaches luck and expects to see an exceptional game.]