College soccer often gets buried in the headlines, particularly in the state like Indiana where basketball reigns supreme. Today, however, soccer is more popular than ever. In particular, millennials have been the major reason for the growth of soccer’s popularity in the states, driven by the success of the US Women’s National Team, the rapid expansion of the MLS, and European soccer finally being televised across the nation. It’s clear that soccer has turned the corner in the US.
While soccer may be on the rise in most of the country, there has been a soccer powerhouse in the Midwest for decades: Indiana University.
The Hoosier men’s soccer program is one of the most dominant in the nation and many college sports fans aren’t even aware.
Did you know that, since its creation in 1973, IU soccer has most wins and the highest winning percentage (both regular-season and post-season) in the country?
Or, that IU has won the second most number of national championships?
In fact, the Hoosiers have won 8 national championships (1982, 1983, 1988, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2012). This is only second to Saint Louis University’s 10 championships, but the Billikens had a substantial head start on the Hoosiers as the program was founded 15 years before IU hit the pitch. SLU has only won one title since the Indiana program was founded.
Stanford University has been one of the most successful programs of this decade, winning the national title in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Yet, while both teams were founded in the same year, Indiana has historically been more successful and sustained this success through numerous decades. In order to understand just how dominant IU has been over the years, let’s compare the number of NCAA Tournament appearances. Stanford has appeared in 14 NCAA Tournaments, while the Hoosiers have made three times as many appearances, reaching a total of 43 NCAA Tournaments. The only teams with more NCAA Tournament appearances are UCLA (44) and Saint Louis University (48).
IU has also been a dominant force within the Big Ten. After the conference began sponsoring men’s soccer in 1991, the Hoosiers have been the regular-season champions 15 times (including 9 straight between 1996-2004). Indiana has also secured 13 Big Ten Tournament titles, substantially more than any other school in the conference. After IU’s 13 conference tournament titles, the second highest number of BigTen Tournament titles is 3 (Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State all have three titles).
IU not only brings home trophies, but also produces some of the top talent in the country. Hoosier alumni have played at almost every major level of soccer.
IU soccer has produced 13 US Men’s National Team players, 6 Olympians, and 6 players who have been part of World Cup rosters. Hoosiers have won the Hermann Trophy (for the best college soccer player) 7 times, more than any other school. IU has also had 12 Big Ten Player of the Years, a conference record. Indiana has had 48 players taken in the MLS Draft.
The 2018-2019 Indiana team alone produced a wealth of talent for the professional ranks. Griffin Dorsey was drafted #6 overall in the MLS Draft by Toronto FC, Rece Buckmaster was taken #32 by the New York Red Bulls, and Francesco Moore was selected #72 by the Portland Timbers. This is in addition to several players who sidestepped the draft process and signed directly with teams.
Justin Rennicks signed a Homegrown Contract with the New England Revolution, leaving Bloomington after his sophomore season. Likewise, Jeremiah Gutjahr signed a Homegrown Contract with the Chicago Fire. The biggest splash was Andrew Gutman signing with European powerhouse and Scottish Premiership team Celtic FC on a three-year deal. Gutman was loaned to the Charlotte independence of the USL to continue to develop his skills.
A major reason why IU is such a dominant program is coaching. Since the inception of the program in 1973, the Hoosiers have only had 3 coaches: Jerry Yeagley, Mike Freitag, and Todd Yeagley (Jerry’s son). All of these coaches have had a winning percentage of at least 69.7%.
While Hoosier soccer may not grab the headlines, the team has a strong fan base. In fact, IU routinely ranks among the highest attendance for men’s soccer games.
To put it simply, Indiana men’s soccer is one of the best and most dominant collegiate sports programs in the nation. While the blue blood discussion has been murky in recent years for the Indiana basketball program, the complete opposite is true for IU soccer.