Anderson University men’s soccer Head Coach Scott Fridley and Assistant Coach Bryan Simpson recently traveled to England to observe behind-the-scenes operations of the Wolverhampton Wolves, part of the English Football League Championship.
The Wolves (also called the Wanderers) were founded in 1877. They were the founders of the Football League and were instrumental in the construction of the Union of European Football Associations’ Championship League. Veterans of the top league in soccer, the Premier League, the Wolves currently play as part of the Football League Championship, the second highest level of English soccer.
Fridley contacted a company that connects coaches to English soccer programs willing to open their doors for people to come in and observe behind the scenes. Although the Wolves are a smaller club, they are historic and consistently rank in the league's top 10 for player development, which was something that the AU coaches were eager to learn about.
“It was like, if you were a basketball coach, being able to spend a whole week behind the scenes with the Indiana Pacers. People just don’t get this type of opportunity,” said Fridley.
[Photo: AU men's soccer coach Scott Fridley pictured during his recent trip to England.]
Keeping up with the club’s busy schedule meant that Fridley and Simpson were soccer-focused on their trip with little time for sightseeing. They flew in while Liverpool was playing, and were able to take in a soccer game firsthand. The team took the coaches through everything from lunches with the first team roster to meeting with the academy director. They were also given the opportunity to meet with several members of the organization, including the CEO. They expanded their knowledge of sports psychology, video analysis, and techniques in coaching kids as young as eight years old.
Back home, one of the captains of Anderson University’s soccer team, Brad Rusche, is eager to learn some of the new skills that the coaches picked up.
“I am excited to see the new drills and ideas that our coaches have learned with their time in England,” said Rusche, a junior entrepreneurship major. “I am sure that we will benefit greatly from the knowledge the coaches gained from spending time with some of the best coaches in the world.”
Fridley hopes his time with the Wolverhampton Wolves will help strengthen his coaching techniques, with the hope that the AU men’s soccer team will see continued success. The team has won the national academic award 16 times in 17 years, and the team has also won the national ethics award four times.
“That is probably the proudest moment for me,” said Fridley. “We love to win and we work hard to win, but year-in and year-out, getting quality kids who are here for the right reasons and making sure the academics and the quality of character is first and foremost is the key to our program.”
— Cody Poor is a senior from Middletown, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Poor 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.