This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
With soccer officially billeted for the 2014-15 school year at USU Eastern the Golden Eagles completed their search for the first head coach and the search for players is nearly completed.
Head coach Ammon Bennett was hired in December 2013, to start the new soccer program, comprised of both men’s and women’s teams. Bennett brings with him plenty of success and even more experience as a head coach. He began his coaching career as the coach of William Penn University located in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he helped lead the Statesmen to success on both teams.
He moved to Iowa Western Community College helping to start the soccer program for the Reivers. Success was found early and often for IWCC under Bennett including four region title wins, two district titles and two appearances in the NJCAA National Championship game with the women’s team. The men’s team brought home two region titles and barely missed winning the district championship games two times.
Bennett then moved to Iowa Lakes Community College in 2011 where he helped guide the women’s team to a top-ten ranking in the NJCAA where they held the seventh spot.
Coming to USU Eastern to start the program brings a lot of excitement for Bennett and high expectations of success from both teams. “I started two other teams [IWCC], in the first year with the women’s team we won a region title, two years later we were playing for a National Title,” Bennett said.
The key for the Golden Eagles success, according to Bennett, is that players buy into the program and play as a team. “Every coach says that they want players that play as a team, soccer is different from other sports because it is a free-flowing game, I can yell from the sideline, but the players have to buy into the system for there to be success.”
The system for Bennett and the Golden Eagles to follow is to be aggressive. “We want to be aggressive and force the other team to make mistakes so we can capitalize on them.” The other portion of the system is about teamwork and how players interact on the field. Bennett said, “Put the best team on the field which means that it won’t be about the best individual talent being on the field, we have to play as a team to win as a team.”
Recruiting to fill out the rosters for the new soccer teams has gone well for the new coach. “We are almost done on the women’s side and have a lot of good players on the men’s side,” Bennett said. He added that Utah is a great state for recruiting soccer players saying, “In Utah, a great player may only have one or two colleges looking at them, in Iowa they would have at least 15.”
As for realistic expectations for the fledging teams, Bennett said, “I think that we are going to really surprise some people, we could be in a regional championship game which would send us to nationals. It will come down to how the players react to each other, new coaches and if they buy into the system, but we have a lot of talent that we can work with.”