Isaacson, players excited for soccer’s future


by Ben Lucas

Rick Isaacson is happy to be at Simpson, and the men’s soccer players are equally happy to have him here.

Isaacson comes to Simpson after six years with Ankeny High School. At Ankeny he achieved a record of 110-25 as well as ranking 7th nationally during the 2007 season. Isaacson said he was able to accomplish this through clear communication with the team and maintaining a balance between competition and fun.

“The foundation for a successful program begins with a positive relationship between the coaching staff and the players,” Isaacson said. “We focused on creating an atmosphere that encourages intense competition while also remembering to keep things enjoyable for our players. We set high expectations and goals for ourselves and the boys made a commitment each year to reaching those goals.”

Isaacson’s strategy for next season concentrates on each specific game and what needs to be improved by the time the next match rolls around.

“We’ll analyze our performance, grade it out, and determine what needs to be worked on,” Isaacson said. “Our training sessions are essentially determined by what we see during our matches. We’ll try to attack any weaknesses in our game through developing our sessions around the areas that need the most focus.”

Isaacson also considers a strong showing in the conference by Simpson to be a high priority.

“Our immediate goal is to return to the conference tournament and see what happens,” Isaacson said. “Our long term goals are to compete for conference championships every year while getting to experience the NCAA tournament. I do think getting this team back above .500 also falls in the immediate goal category. That is going to be a priority.”

Isaacson said he was glad to come to Simpson in part because of his familiarity with it and his respect.

“My family currently lives in Ankeny, but I grew up in Urbandale and have held Simpson College in high regard for as long as I can remember,” Isaacson said. “I know from my time as a student at Luther College that Simpson’s academic and athletic reputation is outstanding. I place a high value on education and a degree from Simpson College is invaluable.”

Bryan Michelsen, junior on the team, is looking forward to the new season and assuming a leadership position as a senior to work with Isaacson.

“As seniors, we have to be willing to adapt to a new coach and lead through example,” Michelsen said. “We’ve all met Coach Isaacson and he seems like a very nice guy who is genuinely excited to be here at Simpson and looks forward to working with the team.”

Chris Allen, also a junior on the team, is enthusiastic about the opportunities the team will have next season.

“It’s exciting to be an upperclassmen and a leader for next year, but everybody knows that in order to do well next year we need to come together as a team,” Allen said. “So far this offseason we have really changed our attitudes for the better.”

Isaacson will be the third men’s soccer coach in Simpson’s history and is ready to face the challenges the position will bring.

“After talking things over with my wife we asked ourselves, ‘What is not to like about Simpson?'” Isaacson said. “It just seemed like a no brainer: a great institution, located in our backyard, and an opportunity to tackle a new challenge.”