By: KYLIE CAMPBELL
IU South Bend is welcoming a new addition to the athletic program this year, Women’s Soccer. The team kicked off their season on Saturday, August 24, against the Cougars at IU Kokomo. Although the season has already begun, the roster has not been finalized due to potential freshman prospects who may not be familiar with the rising team.
IU South Bend is very excited to welcome Coach Bobby Barnes, who will act as the head coach for the team, as well as Assistant Coach Wisdom Ifeanyi.
Barnes was the head coach for Ohio Wesleyan University’s Women’s Soccer Team for 19 seasons and led the Battling Bishops to two consecutive NCAA Division III National Championships along with attending several other NCAC and NCAA DIII tournaments.
While at Ohio Wesleyan University, Barnes received the NCAA DIII National Coach of the Year award twice. Barnes is equally excited to be part of this developing program.
“It’s going to be a part of history on who will be on the first starting line-up, score the first goal, make the first save, and get the first win” explained Barnes.
In order to abide by Title IX standards, there was a need for more female student-athletes on IUSB’s campus. Former Chancellor Terry Allison and Executive Director of Athletics and Activities Steve Bruce discussed the benefits that a women’s soccer team would hold.
“Women’s soccer, typically a roster of 20-24 student-athletes became our sport of choice…due to its popularity in the area,” disclosed Bruce.
Women’s soccer has been on the popularity rise both nationally and locally in recent years due to both the admirable success as well as the legal battles of The United States women’s national soccer team, including the recent filing of a gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation by athletes from the US team.
The IUSB Titans have had a promising pre-season and Coach Barnes is eager to see how the season will play out. Regarding recruiting, Barnes states, “some of the best soccer talent in the world is located between Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis.”
The home of the Titans will be at Newton Park in Lakeville, which is also where the baseball team has hosted home games in the past. Due to this previous relationship, Bruce explained that Newton Park was very welcoming to the new soccer team.
The team’s next match will be against the Goshen Maple Leafs at Goshen College on Wednesday, August 28, and the team is set to host their first home game against Bethel College on Saturday, September 14.