The Anderson University men's soccer team is in the midst of a milestone year, and they're ready to celebrate during Homecoming this weekend. A 25th Anniversary Reception will be held on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Kardatzke Wellness Center pavilion. The event is free. Those wishing to attend may register here!
The program originally started as a club, before gaining NCAA varsity status in 1989. With an emphasis on sportsmanship, both on and off the field, AU has won the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award four times and the Academic Award 16 times in the last 17 years. "The program has definitely improved and will continue to improve over time," said Elliott Reiff, a junior on the team.
[Photo: The inaugural Anderson University varsity men's soccer team in 1989 (top) and the 2013 team.]
Through the changes in players, coaches, and fans, Scott Fridley has been a constant member of the team. Fridley served as a player and assistant coach, and he is currently head coach. His passion for soccer shows in his coaching techniques. "When I look at this program, I'm most proud of my boys," said Fridley. "We have some really great kids, and over the course of 25 years, we have tried to find as much success on the character side as we have in the win-loss column."
For years, Fridley has taken the team to various countries as part of his belief that players need to see more of the world and experience the game of soccer outside of America. Over the summer, players and coaches made their seventh trip to Europe.
This year's trip was an excursion to multiple countries that included three professional games and two exhibition games for AU. They visited several historic sites such as the Colosseum in Rome and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. "It's a cultural playing trip," said Fridley. "Kids are going to remember playing internationally, but we have a lot of kids who have barely left their home state when they get here. I want them to see as much as possible, so that's why when we travel, we keep moving and do not stay in one country for two weeks."
The players enjoy these trips just as much as Fridley, and they grow not only as individuals but also as a team. "It was a great cultural experience to see several different countries," said Nathan Wadley, a sophomore goalkeeper. "It really built team chemistry, and you will never forget the guys you travel an entire continent with."
In conjunction with the team's 25th anniversary, AU is currently raising funds for soccer field renovations. Expanded bleachers, a new press box, a watering system, and a new fence are among the planned improvements. Click here to support this project!
— Zach Wadley is a senior from Bourbonnais, Ill., majoring in journalism and minoring in public relations. Wadley is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.