On Tuesday, Oberlin announced the coming of the Blake New era in men's soccer. The announcement had been expected by many since former coach Chris Barker resigned last week.
Coach New was excited about the chance to coach Oberlin's men's team. Most recently, he had been the women's coach. His other coaching experiences include two years as the assistant men's coach at Cleveland State University (Division I), two years as a player and then coach of the US Indoor Soccer League's Cleveland Caps, and a stint as the head coach of the USISL Women's Cleveland Eclipse. Also, New played for a year with the Cleveland Crunch.
Asked what he expected for next year, Coach said he planned for everyone on the team to start with a clean slate. "Everyone will start from ground zero," he said. "There won't be any preconceptions about returning players. Obviously, I've seen the team play, and I can't pretend that I haven't, but everybody will start from square one."
With all but two players returning, Coach New will have an experienced squad to work with. One of those experiences, however, was this season's 5-13 showing, which New and the team would like to improve upon. Asked what he might do to that end, New was straight to the point. "We'll have to change the defensive system," he said. "This team gave up 47 goals this year. You simply can't give up that many goals and hope to win. We need to cut that in half to be successful."
If it's any consolation, 21 of those goals were given up in two games against Kenyon College (1-8), and Ohio Wesleyan University (0-13). New pointed to the departure of sweeper senior Russell Menyhart as another point of concern along the defensive front. "Unless we get a recruit in the off-season, we'll just have to put the best person we can find back there."
With the returning talent and a new coach, soccer should be looking at a bright future. Hopefully, coach New will be able to invigorate a team that showed signs of coming to life during some of this season's brighter moments. When the curtain rises next September, Oberlin will open with a New attitude.
Trading sides: Women's soccer coach Blake New will coach the men next year. He is enthusiastic about the change. His move follows the resignation of Chris Barker as the men's soccer coach. During the Spring semester, he will coach women's lacrosse. (photo by Stephen Menyhart)
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 127, Number 10, November 20, 1998
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