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Men’s Soccer: New head coach Brian Maisonneuve hoping to bring program to new level

Ohio State head coach Brian Maisonneuve speaks to the media during his introductory press conference on April 26, 2018. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics

 

Brian Maisonneuve has accomplished a lot in his career, both on the field and from the sideline.

As an assistant at Indiana, he helped guide the Hoosiers to the 2012 national title and a runner-up finish in 2017. He also aided the team which captured the 2010 Big Ten regular-season title and the 2013 Big Ten Tournament championship.

As a player, Maisonneuve spent nine years in the MLS and six as part of the United States Men’s National Team, appearing in all three of the team’s games at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Now, Maisonneuve has nothing but excitement while he begins to lead a team of his own, taking over as the Ohio State men’s soccer head coach.

“When this opened up, to come back to Columbus, to work for this athletic department and to be able to build this program and continue to build the success from coach [John] Bluem — it’s a dream opportunity,” Maisonneuve said.

Maisonneuve both played and coached at Indiana, but he is certainly not without ties to Columbus. Maisonneuve was a founding member of the Columbus Crew, playing with the club for nine seasons between 1996 and 2004.

Returning to Columbus is something of a homecoming for Maisonneuve.

“The city of Columbus has always been really special to my wife and I,” Maisonneuve said. “When we left, I can remember my wife saying, ‘If we ever have the chance to get back to the city of Columbus, let’s do it.’”

Maisonneuve is eager, but he said he faces a potential uphill battle in preparing his team ready for season. The new head coach said he’s had little time to even talk to his new team given that it’s finals week, and he won’t be able to work with them or see them on the field until August, due to NCAA practice rules.

“A lot of the relationships will be built on the phone and in whatever contact I’m allowed to have with them, but it will be limited,” Maisonneuve said. “It’s not easy because you want to get at it. Any time a new coach takes over they’re ready to go — and believe me I am ready to go. I was just talking to the group, I was ready to get on the field and get training.”

Maisonneuve said while he wishes he had more time with his team, he’s confident he’ll have them ready to play come fall, installing new tactics and emphasizing aggressiveness on both sides of the ball.

“I want people to say that it’s hard to play against Ohio State, that when we step on the field, we make it very uncomfortable for other teams, both offensively and defensively,” Maisonneuve said. “We’re going to get after teams on both sides of the ball.”

Ohio State struggled mightily on the offensive end last season. The Buckeyes were shut out more than twice as often as they scored multiple goals in a game. Maisonneuve said he wants to emphasize offensive possession and versatility to attack a defense in multiple ways.

“The key word for me would be effective soccer,” Maisonneuve said. “If we can out-possess teams, we’ll do it. If we’re not possessing on the day and we need to get some wide service in, we’ll do it. If they’re holding a high line and we need to find some space in behind, we’ll do it. Whatever is on, I’d like to say my players tactically will be able to figure it out, so it’ll be tough to stop offensively.

Tactics aside, Maisonneuve’s primary emphasis is the long-term success of the program, building on what it was able to achieve under Bluem and taking the next step.

“I’m really looking forward to continuing to build on the success that he had here and take this program to new levels,” Maisonneuve said. “I think with the resources here in Columbus with this athletic department, I think the sky’s the limit for this program.”

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