ISU soccer gains leadership, new vibe in 2015 season


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

ISU head coach Tony Minatta said leadership will be a key quality to the 2015 ISU soccer team at 2015 media day Aug. 7. 

Jenna Reeves

With soccer season right around the corner, head coach Tony Minatta can already see the difference between the 2015 ISU soccer team and last season’s team.

“It’s a totally different vibe,” he said.

Minatta said the biggest difference is experience.

Last year the team had 19 underclassmen and a new head coach. He said the seniors from last season didn’t have a lot of minutes under their belts from their first three years.

“[The new seniors] now know what it is to play and compete at this level and to come out with wins,” Minatta said.

Finishing with a 7-11 overall record, 1-7 in Big 12 play, the Cyclones have a fresh start ahead of them. The team will have eight returning starters to look forward to.

Minatta said the team spent a significant amount of time in the spring addressing the issues of leadership and mental toughness. He said the team already knew how to play the game.

“We strive to make them not only better players, but better people, and able to handle adverse conditions better than we did last year,” Minatta said.

Returning captains and seniors Haley Albert and Lindsay Frank are part of the senior group that will take a leadership role. 

“Those two have really stepped up and taken charge of the team,” Minatta said. “What they have done with the group has been tremendous in terms of bringing the freshmen on board and getting the team to gel together.”

Albert said she is ready to be a leader for the team.

“Last year the leadership role was kind of overwhelming, but this year is my senior year,” Albert said. “I’ve gotten a lot of experience last year and I have learned a lot of things. I’m confident and I’m ready to make my mark.”

Minatta’s good feeling for the next season is partially attributed to the new vibe around the team: confidence.

“[The confidence] comes with experience and how we approached things this spring,” Minatta said. “Things we thought were important in the fall aren’t so important now, and we can learn from that.”

Last year, the team started strong and was caught up thinking about the future, Minatta said. At first, the team looked toward the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments instead of the games directly ahead. He said his team was focusing on the destination and not the journey.

Minatta said the key to doing better this year is “not getting too high when you do have success and not getting too low when you have a setback.”

“It’s not just about the soccer, it’s about the people and taking that approach has created a different environment,” Minatta said. “We want to focus on getting better each day, each week, game to game and not looking past it.”

ISU soccer kicks off its season with an exhibition game at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Notre Dame.