By JOHN BOSCHINI
Will Bruin is no stranger to expectations.
As a seventh grader, Bruin caught the attention of Greg Vitello, coach at DeSmet High School in St. Louis and the third-winningest coach in men’s high school soccer history.
“He came to one of our grade school camps in seventh grade and his size and physical presence made him stand out,” Vitello said. “He was bigger and stronger than anyone else. He was a man playing against boys.”
Four years and 73 high school goals later, Bruin made the four-hour trip to Indiana University instead of making a teenage jump to the professional ranks.
“It never really crossed my mind [not to go to college],” Bruin said. “My parents wanted me to come to a good school and get a good education. And it’s only four hours away from St. Louis so that’s not bad.”
Bruin isn’t the first DeSmet graduate to make the trip to Indiana. Chris Klein, Mike Ambersley and Pat Noonan all made the jump from coach Vitello to the Hoosiers.
“He was certainly a highly-touted prospect coming out of high school,” Indiana coach Todd Yeagley said. “He has a rare combination of size and athleticism and a scorer’s mentality that you don’t find on too many with his frame.”
Names like Conor Casey and Brian McBride come up when Yeagley talks about his junior forward.
“He’s not going to carve you up with his speed, but he’ll make you pay with his strength and finishing,” Yeagley said of Bruin, who scored nine goals in 2009.
The start of the 2010 campaign has been a mixed bag for the Hoosiers. An opening loss to California in double overtime was followed by a 5-1 thrashing of the fifth-ranked UCLA Bruins, in which Bruin scored a hat trick. Indiana was up to No. 18 in the national rankings and Bruin had four goals through only two games.
“He had a great day at UCLA and could honestly have a few more goals on the season,” Yeagley said. “He could get 15-20 goals this year and he’ll continue to be our primary scoring threat.”
Indiana’s consistency problems came to the forefront on Sept. 10 when Indiana conceded a late goal to lose to unranked Cal State Poly.
“It’s always tough to come back and play a five o’clock game in front of 100 people,” Bruin said. “I mean it’s hard to get up for those games but that’s not an excuse. Teams like Cal Poly, their big game of the year is always against Indiana, so we have to bring 100 percent every game and we didn’t have 100 percent Friday.”
Much like they did against UCLA, the Hoosiers rebounded after a two-day break to shutout No. 22 Drake and get back to .500 on the season.
“After games like the last two Fridays, you want to have that quick turnaround and get back out there and play,” Bruin said. “We want to get back out there and show what we can actually do so it’s a good thing.”
As for a professional career, Bruin is hesitant to speculate (though sources tell SBI that Bruin is squarely on Major League Soccer's radar).
“I’m just sort of playing and focusing on this season and playing everything as it goes right now,” Bruin said.
Vitello, the man who plucked an over-sized 12-year-old out of a group of dozens back in 2003, has different expectations for Bruin.
“It’s not just about soccer with him,” Vitello said. “That’s why he’s going to be successful. If it doesn’t work out in one direction, it’ll work out in another direction. But he’s still a beast on the field.”
Notre Dame has won 11 Gridiron national titles, thus they are better than Texas
I think it is California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and California Polytechnic State University. The second one is the school that played Indiana. So Cal State Poly does exist they just didn’t play Indiana in soccer.
I was at that game, and boy was it exciting. My dad and I were talking about Bruin before the game, and how everyone had such high expectations of him coming into IU. It’s nice to see him starting to live up to his potential, though to be fair, he’s never had a midfield quite as talented as the one he has behind him. Kotlov, Petts, and Adlard, will make sure Bruin has a productive year.
I heartily agree. The high school scene has been very big in Ohio for a while, and I remember reading a few years ago that Cincinnati was second only to St. Louis in the number of youth soccer players.
It only helps to have had the Crew win the MLS Cup in 2009, and have the Buckeyes finish second to Wake Forest in 2008 in the College Cup. Yep soccer is getting big in Ohio, but we can still grow more!
Cal Poly Pomona D2 Basketball Champs!
MLS should continue to take advantage of these superior NCAA athletes by mixing them in with foreign vets. Quality of play will continue to improve and the fans will come out.
no argument there, the key word is “have been” Maryland has certainly in the present day joined those ranks, winning lots of games and producing quality pros
The name is California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo/Pomona (both schools informally known as Cal Poly SLO/Pomona–“State is nowhere to be found). My alma mater is SLO, my Dad’s is Pomona–do your research!!!!!!!!!!! Please know what you’re talking about before coming at me–and again, Hoosiers Suck!!!!!
Cal (State) Poly Pomona strangely does put the State in front of Polytechnic, so the school does exist, but in this context the author made a minor typo. Do your research, Cpvault!
First off–my alma mater is Cal Poly SLO. Not, “Cal State Poly” (this to the author of the article–do your research)! That school does not exist. Secondly, why make excuses for you losing to Cal Poly Will Bruin? Give respect to your opponents–or at least the ones that beat you!!!!
Caleb played at IU and was an assistant coach to the legend Jerry Yeagley. CNNSI recently had a nice article on Porter and his creation of a juggernaut at Akron.
The three big programs of college soccer have been IU, UCLA and Virginia. When the Terps and Sasho Cirovski win 7 NCAA’s come back.
How does someone named Bruin NOT play for UCLA?
I meant to add at least it sounds like this kid’s developed his game to go with the size.
I always flinch when we get excited about a player at youth level simply because of their size.
Lionel Messi would have been riding a bench had he been born in the US because a bigger kid was taking his spot.
Fear the Turtle, Maryland has taken the title of best program from Indiana, but they were certainly on top for a long time
After this season he’ll have 3 years college experience. (It’s easy to miss, but the post refers to him as a Junior…and I didn’t see it at first, so I also looked it up)
Didn’t Caleb Porter go to Akron from Indiana?
Akron has been on fire and hopefully he and OSU, along with the Crew and Friedel’s academy and possibly the team in Cleveland if they get going can get Ohio to be a big soccer state.
Ohio is football crazy but a big population of atheletes and if Ohio can grow it will really help the state of soccer in the USA if it can join NJ, Cali, and Texas in producing lots of soccer players.
I watched the Indiana-UCLA match on the BTN (big ten network) on DirecTV about 3 times (they kept playing it over and over 🙂 ! In seeing Be MKS)ruin play you can see he has a good nose for the ball, and knowing his size, weight and strength are better than most, is somewhat fearless. But, he has some skill on the ball and get good positioning so he looks more polished than he probably is.
I hope he gets about 2-3 years in college, to polish his skills and to get closer to a degree. He will be a handful wherever he goes and hopefully we will see him in the MLS.
Usually, footballing skills peak between 17-21, which is why a lot of pundits like to say players need to turn pro early to progress further. But going to a school like Indiana or NC, or UCLA are sometimes better than a lower-level pro team. If he prgresses at the same pace though, he will be ready for the pros in a year or two.
It’s INDIANA UNIVERSITY. Not “The University of Indiana”. The best collegiate soccer program in history. Hoo-Hoo-Hoo-HOOSIERS.
“And it’s only four hours away from St. Louis so that’s not bad.” It’s only four hours away if you’re driving like some crazed manimal. Slow down on those Indiana country roads, Will!